"Winter Mother"


My mother was born in winter

on a solstice, when nothing grows,

in a meadow covered with a hundred day's snows.


She was born out of a rose bush

all thorns and dead, in an icy birth-gown,

while great hailstones spattered down.


Her cheeks were frosty, cold

porcelain stained with blush,

ghostly breath passing through lips red and lush.


A mean wind blew streaks of sleet in her hair,

turning the thin strands into a series of silver crescents,

while her body and her mind laid dormant and quiescent.


Snowflakes one by one danced down,

gently painted rounded hips and pallid arms

so that no man, no god, would resist her charms.


Then her frozen eyes, colorless,

stole the heather hue of the brewing storm clouds,

and the first breath stung her lungs, gasping and loud.


She has ate, slept, breathed,

and lived, and died,

with Winter by her side.


My mother is this myth my mind created—

I never knew her. I dream of this winter woman over and over,

so that although I may never know my mother, I have loved her.