In This Winter House

by Anne Maren-Hogan

a dozen family members mingle in coal-fired days
of subzero, wade through childhood. Stairstep children

climb second floor stairs where Grandma Martha reaches deep
in her apron pocket for the key.

Turning it she opens her sanctuary bedroom, letting herself in,
retreating to silence.

Bundling in dishtowel scarf, soft farmer's gloves, double pants,
I exit the back door, eager for the welcome harsh wind. Pushing

toward the barn my ears perk for Ginger's snicker, stamping foot.
I slip the bridle on, an old woolen blanket, Western saddle snug.

My knees hug his sides, head toward the stubbled cornfield, where
the forever push-me-pull-you wind wraps us tight.

Cheeks ruddy, I burn with wind aliveness. Pigeons
fly up as he rumbles across the old wooden bridge.

In the open field despite odds of sliding on ice patches his hooves
find foothold. Our eyelashes cake with ice crystals.

His breath, puff after puff, gusts past. Heads thrown back,
eating clouds in the snowy afternoon, we fly.

Anne Maren-Hogan has been published in Main Street Rag and the Wapsipinican Journal. Her first chapbook, The Farmer’s Wake, was published by Finishing Line Press.

About In This Winter House—This poem emerged from one of my writing classes—such a rich resource in the rural area where I live.