February In the Mirror (A portrait)
Lauren E. Perez

I.

When winter comes.
When murmur is not mere.
When I start to cover my neck again.

The difficulty was on the bones,
the winds so strong the froze
the water in swirls on the panes.

Each word you chose was final.
Conversation stilled and sputtered—
but night after night,
I watched you set them down,
the phrases—watched how
it was done, this choosing
and stripping of discernible details.
Your waiting was the delirium

beyond which the lake ceased its churn,
pushing ice instead up to the shore.
We walked along its surface without sound.

II.

There is a middle missing,
mid-March,
tumbling down the street—

If frozen trees have
Not been enough, at least
you’ve had horses in your dreams.

When the eaves fell in puddles,
words were easier
to fashion into form.
You hung timid remnants,
fluttering sleeves
of pale-skinned legs
out the windows.
The rime melted in patterns
by afternoon.

III.

I know it will not be enough.
Tracing our paths back
from the lake, shedding ice
in chunks, we climb
a lip of sand.

But the sand, its moods and secrets
call us out, dropping us
before we reach the top.

I understand now all you did,
in the desperate moments
at the water’s edge.
There is finality, a second’s worth
of flicker. We know the tides
will rise when most expected,
against our willful pushing.

Sacramento Morning by Shawn Pittard
Baking the Ginger Boy's Tongue by Jay Carson
February In the Mirror by Lauren E. Perez
In Some of the Snapshots by Oliver Rice
At Sea by Morgan Claxton
Talking Cure by David Barber
The Greeks by Martin Devecka
Theory to the People by Julianne Werlin


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