An Evanescent Visit

A Single Icicle

by Lisa Ashley

Icicles lined the gutters of our house
in New York farm country.
Sometimes they reached the snowbanks below
thick as our arms half buried there.
We plucked them and sucked them
until our lips turned blue,
so numb we couldn’t form our words.
In those days winter arrived early,
stayed for months.

We had sword fights,
our ice blades fused to our mittens
as we merged with the cold unheeding.
We knocked them down with snowballs,
smashing holes in the line
like a TV prison cell breakout
setting free our screams of triumph
when a whole wall came splintering down.

Here near the Salish Sea winter
makes an evanescent visit—
a week in February
when winds from the Fraser Valley
swoop down upon us—
it lasts just long enough for a single icicle
to form outside my window,
rainwater dripping and freezing
to make its point.

Originally appeared in Juniper. Reprinted with permission.

Lisa Ashley, MDiv, (she/her), descends from survivors of the Armenian Genocide and has listened to and supported incarcerated youth for eight years as a chaplain. She is a 2021 Pushcart Prize nominee. Lisa writes in her log home on Bainbridge Island, WA, the traditional lands of the Suquamish people, having found her way there 34 years ago from rural New York by way of Montana. Lisa navigates her garden with physical limitations in a constant state of awe. Her poems have appeared in Amsterdam Quarterly, Jupiter, The Healing Muse, The Hyacinth Review, Gyroscope Review, Blue Heron Review, Last Leaves Magazine, Thimble, Snapdragon, Last Stanza Poetry Journal, and othersLisa holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Montana, and an MDiv from Seattle University. She is working on her first manuscript.

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