Middle of Winter in Vermont
Light the color of old ice seeping
into the cold air of the kitchen,
warming the tiny ghosts of poisoned mice –
The humming in our hearts
where their voices used to be.
All the different names for things.
What is the word for two girls
watching the snow come down
on a Saturday morning in Vermont?
Does the word change
when they both have long dark hair?
Jenna & I lived in the kind of house
that never warmed, where we sat in bed for hours,
& if somebody came in yelling, they had to
leave, even if it took months to get them out.
When more than a foot of snow falls
the air smells clean as a two handled saw.
All the cars drift off the road
& the sidewalks freeze slick;
we are falling up our driveways, outside
of bars, on the way up the tallest hill in town.
Vermont snow is the biggest ghost of all --
the long-gone spirit of a dried-out ocean, whale songs,
first one people, then another, and another.
Those things that were always chasing us
whenever we drove in circles across the lake
& back. When we’d get home we would huddle
on the floor around the heater & talk
the gold parts of the day into history,
while the ghosts of our breath crawled out
our mouths, out again through the windows.
Alyssandra Tobin is a poet and short fiction writer who has called New Jersey, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Ireland home. She has been published or has work forthcoming in Juked, Figure 1, Bad Pony, Atticus Review, Curbside Splendor, and others, and was awarded the Douglas A. Pinta Award in 2015. She recently finished her MA in Creative Writing at the University College Cork.