I remember being shorter than the shovel.
Jacket sheltering me from the cold,
but the wind sharp enough to turn my face pink,
and despite the fact that I waited for these days,
Teeth chattering against my smile as my dad sat in the doorway.
On winter mornings when we’d claim the house as our own bit of chaos,
we’d marvel together at the petrified drips of water coming from the gutters.
I was sure the way the light danced through the icicle
was magic in the air.
But my dad and I do not make a peaceful pair.
I’d take the too tall shovel and swing,
the ice shatters around me,
raining glitter on my boots.
Ten winters later,
and our tradition has melted alongside my dad’s health.
Driving to the hospital feels like a death march.
The doors push through the parts of your life that make sense,
divide, and a rush of stale air convinces your eyes to close
like maybe you’re just afraid of what you might see.
I know these halls like the lines on my palm.
Each turn telling a different story.
The curved path to him resembles
the broken life-line that fate has cruelly carved into my hands.
Every visit the same as the last,
the years blur and I still have no idea how we are.
Time forever moving but never us.
Stuck in this purgatory between lives.
Between living and surviving,
between home and hopefully a heaven.
But never with the icicles.
Never on the back porch burying our laughs into our gloved hands,
With the too-tall shovel
in the hands of a too-small girl.
Nothing quite feels clear,
All we can do is listen to the ice melt,
Listen to the birds cry their goodbyes to the glitter,
And hope that it means the sun is coming.