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copper leaves flood the sidewalk

I shuffle my feet through them

crunch and drift off my sneakers

but softening toward rot

smooth canary-yellow spotted with black sponge

in sharp contrast to the blueberry-bright cane

in my mind I am ten years old

the leaves are fresh and new

I hated being a child

they could tell me what to do and when to do it

but in the impending chill of winter

and the warning threads of ice in November breeze

I might give almost anything

for the leaves to be fresh and new again




the air hurts my face

or would if I dared step outside

drip drip drip the faucet goes

to keep from freezing solid

motion is lotion but they don’t say how much it hurts

the chill is deep

grinding joints like glass

I cannot make a fist

but if I did what would I punch

the house is old and the windows are thin

arctic prairie wind rattles through the glass

slides its icy fingers

and grips my hands my hip my foot

clamping on every limb

freezing inside me until I don’t dare move

the blue cane rests against the front door



a bird chirps my alarm clock

rising from sleep

I move my leg and the hip remains silent

the snow has melted from the sidewalk

brushed clean from rotted leaves

ground still barren and brown

but warming to the unfamiliar sun

emerge from my blanket cocoon

and step outside to the porch

so the sun can find me

one step then two then three

toward hints of green

leaning on the blue cane

but walking.

Elizabeth Donald_edited.jpg

Elizabeth Donald

Elizabeth Donald is a writer fond of things that go chomp in the night. She is the recipient of the Mimi Zanger Literary Award and three Darrell Awards among other awards. She is the founder and zookeeper of the Literary Underworld small-press cooperative, president of the St. Louis Society of Professional Journalists, A freelance writer, and is pursuing an MFA at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville while teaching writing and journalism at SIUE and St. Louis University. Her horror, science fiction, and fantasy books include the Blackfire and Nocturne dark fantasy series, and her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary magazines. She lives with her husband in a haunted house in Illinois. In her spare time, she has no spare time.

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