Mornings when the mercury refuses
to jump up through zero’s icy hoop,
I think of my grandfather chipping
the ice from the washbasin in his boyhood
attic bedroom, and still I hesitate to slip
from the sweet embrace of the wool blanket.
The first kiss of cold is the cruelest,
something I seem to have intuited
from before the start, when I declined
to depart the warm bowl of my mother’s
belly at Christmas, waiting another two
weeks to venture forth, only to discover
the day to be fine—bracing but bright.
And I cried for the newness of it,
glad to be alive and squalling.
Yvonne Zipter is the author of the poetry collections Kissing the Long Face of the Greyhound, The Patience of Metal, and Like Some Bookie God, the nonfiction books Diamonds Are a Dyke’s Best Friend and Ransacking the Closet, and the novel Infraction. Her poems have appeared in several anthologies and numerous periodicals, including Poetry, Southern Humanities Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, Calyx, Crab Orchard Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review.