Prairie Wolf Press Review
Apology: A Valentine
by Ann E. Michael
For years I have held February
answerable to many sorrows
as though the month itself
were responsible for its appearance:
dour days too short, long nights
steeped in frosty bitterness.
Resigned to hibernation,
I claimed February made me sleepy,
dulled my skin, sucked dream
into a cold vacuum
like a vacant acre of outer space,
a stony-hearted month.
But today I watch a small herd
of yearling deer file gingerly beside
the hedgerow over crusted snow
and sense a thaw within.
The days, brief, nonetheless begin
their shadowy stretch into spring.
Owls urge themselves toward mating,
their querying calls strung
along night’s bare branches;
buzzards return from foraging
the more southerly dead, skunks
break dormancy; sometimes,
the hellebore blooms.
I have been observing February
from all the wrong angles.
This is not the wild greening
of April nor the fragrant abundance
of June, but it deserves better
than repudiation or scorn:
Lace and paper, the color red
sweet words that don’t mean much—
To February, which has given me much
besides unhappiness, I offer my apology.
Ojo de Deo
by Ann E. Michael
I was a child in the flat dry. New to me: red dust and burros,
bodies of dead scorpions, flat, dry, translucent: death made small.
I said prayers, climbed exactly as high as my fears, stung.
I was a child with a child-brain and a god’s-eye, indian paintbrush—
A child, praying. In the surprise of cool adobe: inward shadows
on the dim insides. Whitewashed library, dense smell of words, Bibles.
Pinyons bent me secrets. I scouted arroyos, watched Pedernal
watching me, bruise-purple, its shape an ache imprinted on my tongue.
I drew my fingers through orange dust with that mesa on my back.
Knowing I would carry it home, its eye on me. Speaking of it still, oh god.
Ann E. Michael lives in Pennsylvania. Her fourth solo chapbook, The Capable Heart, was published in January by FootHills Publishing. Her work has appeared in Ninth Letter, Painted Bride Quarterly, Natural Bridge, ISLE and in numerous online journals, such as Mezzo Cammin and SNReview. Her website is www.annemichael.com