When winter's breath announces the season,
I think of the shack of my childhood:
cracks in the walls,
wind rushing in,
icicles hanging from the eaves,
water frozen inside
the water bucket
on the back porch.

How strange that my mind
embraces images
of Christmas warmth:

Daddy dozing by the crackling hearth,
Mama in the dim kitchen,
cracking pecans for Christmas cakes,
supper simmering on the old wood stove.
I'm sitting at the table, wanting to eat,
watching Mama.

"The meat is tough," she tells me,
"it will take a while."
She smiles,
puts down the hammer-cracker,
then cooks me a hoecake
on top of the stove.

Copyright 1998 Ruth Gillis

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