This poem was selected as a winner of Alan Squire Publishing's April, 2021 National Poetry Month Contest after prompts created by Rose Solari.

Salt crystals glitter, shattered glass
on wet boardwalk, wood
darkened by melting snow,

the salt seeps between the cracks
of coming wounds. The hummingbird
is gone, seeds and hulls scattered.

At my step the cats skitter and run;
the ginger, the brindle, the black
and white. Only the tigers and alleys

crouch, ears erect, watching.
In the field beyond the fence
the grass is bent, humped by wind

into curved mounds against snow-
speckled ground. The horses are all
gone. The spiteful neighbor cut

holes in the fence. In the distance
the sky is pale and white, blurring
into cloud and snow until gray bands

press against a flat horizon. In a sudden
flutter a shock of cardinals bursts
through the spindled limbs of your apple tree

blood sprayed from an opened vein
they shoot through the branches the rush of their wings
slicing a scarlet wound in the sky.

Lin Kaatz Chary

Lin Kaatz Chary is a poet and writer who lives with her dog, DG, on the southernmost tip of Lake Michigan in Gary, IN. She is currently working on a memoir about her life as a steelworker and communist organizer in a major steel mill in the late 1970’s and early ‘80’s. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 2020.

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