How Can We Keep Such Comfort Safe
Early morning settles
beneath windowsills, rests
in sidewalk cracks, scurries
between trees, hovers
on the road’s edges.
I see him there, stiff,
damp, cold, dead.
Hit and run, but who cares
about one tom cat?
I lean my bike on the chill
and dare a closer look.
Body broken, neck twisted
he stares perpetually
over a corn field, snapped
stalks bent down toward
solid Ohio ground.
of farm life, of feeling death
and birth all around doesn’t
prepare you for kicking
your cat into the ditch,
for listening to the grass rustling
as his body tumbles
down, for feeling
the dawn exhale.
First day of Spring, Mother reads the Farmers’ Almanac to me:
Clover protects people from spells
of magicians, the wiles of fairies.
Clover brings good luck to those
who keep it in the house.
Pluck a four-leaf clover at first Spring dew,
rub it on your freckles. They will fade.
Next morning, before sunrise as sparrows peck
over the gravel drive, in search for bugs,
the clover bed waits for me, dew-drizzled,
spider web-speckled. My pajamas drag damp earth
to the search for the perfect clover that will wipe
my face clean, give me luck, protect me from bullies.
It's not to be found this vernal equinox. Instead,
two regular clovers clumped together, swept over
my nose, cheeks. From the kitchen, Mother watches me
I do not know she’s there.
She blames red cheeks on chilly air.
About the Author: Nicole is part of the 6th generation to grow up on a family farm in central Ohio. This land drifts into her poetry often. She lives in Newport News, VA with her husband and cat, and is an Assistant Professor of English at Christopher Newport University. She spends most of her time teaching, talking, and writing about writing.