As Long As There Are Husbands in Winter

by Phyllis Holliday

From An Old Sore Throat Lozenge Commercial
As long as there are husbands in Winter,
Wolves crying, icicles speaking in riddles,
A wish for roses. Autumn wives, Summer children,
Waking to eery footsteps on snow, hushed, soothed
By Hollyhock People Stories, Talking Bees Tales, how
Good Children find that deer-path in the woods.

Snowmen husbands come into the cabin, then
When it is time, melt and are saved in
A tin bucket, behind the wood stove. Winter
Saving, like berry jam, rhubarb preserves, apples
Spuds, mincemeat, stored for Winter life.
Comes white ice fear, cough and death. The wind.

But Winter Wife puts lemon oil on her breasts,
And hums. The bucket's low. In her wool cloak
And thick mittens, out she goes. Snow tells stories
Of lilacs. Lilacs will come, and birds. Behind the
Wood stove, the Lover in the bucket softly
Laughs, carrot nose sneezing underwater.

Phyllis Holliday says: "When I was a child I lived for two years in an enchanted forest in Central Oregon. I was beguiled by poetry and folklore and began a long quest to learn how to write about it. I'm still learning. Favorite fruit: after much pondering (I'm a Gemini/Libra rising) like Eve, apples."

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