Mother Winter

by Jeanie Tomanek

Not for you the terror

of "If I should die

before I wake . . ."

a dare to a fickle god

to take you while you slept.

Sandaled girl dressed in white

walks in flowered field

I used instead the pantheon

of frailer gods,

told you myths of Daedalus,

Icarus, Demeter, Persephone,

proud and weak, brave and foolish.

Hades’ nightshaded horses rising

from the sundered earth.

Your small mouth struggled

with the stolen girl’s name

and asked for her story

night after night.

Cool still Styx crossed,

Innocence left behind.

Our seasons passed, changed

by the otherworldly fruit

I fed you, hoping to keep

you safe from holy charlatans.

Grieving mother strikes

a deal with Limbo’s dark lord

But I left you in the meadow

while I wandered, and now

you hear the chariot’s wheels

and fear the winter night.

Six pomegranate seeds

for summer sometime

My goddess curse for mother earth

withheld the spring

you counted on, and the promise

that I would save you

is locked icy in your heart.