poetry ezine of the desert moon review

Photography by Jill Burhans
Photo by Jill Burhans

Second Place

Cold Snap

Outside for obligatory photographs:
ubiquitous head-shot, profile,
three-quarter profile, bust.
I stand between the battered, rusty
plow, lost in a stand of spruce,
and the house’s winter windows,
nearly buried by blizzard. I squint
and will be squinting forever,
standing, frozen by the shutters.

When I see myself, inside, later,
at first only pixels, then paper thin,
I am several hundred pounds of meat
none of it lean, leaning on a cane,
a lame spectacle trapped by
reflex and bifocality, with snow
at the temple of my thinning hair.

Ron Lavalette


Arlene Ang:
Excellent wordplay and tongue-in-cheek humor make this piece irresistible. I love how the title alludes not only to cold weather, but also to the picture-taking and the narrator's cold-shower realization of being "several hundred pounds of meat/ none of it lean". The ending snow is a wonderful curtain call that gives the idea of a rather crushing avalanche, ego-wise.

Bernard Henrie:
"Cold Snap" is a mini-seminar on narrative movement, on storytelling. The poem moves in a smooth, wonderful flow from an opening action that is unmistakable, to a complication, to a surprising and original conclusion. The forward movement in this poem is worth special note; the phrasing is exquisite and precise. For me, the first person focus adds to the immediacy and accessibility of the poem. I felt as though the poet was sitting with me over coffee, speaking of a recent experience that I now gratefully share.