the phone call came, summoning him
to a feat of bravery, a daunting job
he didn't want, but accepted sagely.
Told the road was closed by snowdrifts,
her phone unanswered hour after hour,
only he able to check on the elderly neighbor.
He prepared quickly, the essentials gathered
by his anxious children: a short-handled ax,
flashlight, their words of encouragement.
Another sweater, warmest coat, boots
buckled, family's thickest knit cap. Then,
in benediction, around his head I wrapped
a woolen scarf, bright red for courage, for
hope, for safety. My eyes spoke my
admiration, my worry, as the door
opened to a blustering flurry and then he
was gone. Immediately drowned
in the howling slurry that hit him hard
with stinging fury. As trees moaned,
bent in the shrieking wind, one child
wailed her dark worry, Will Daddy die?
We huddled in a hug, waited and paced,
each exacting minute a harrowing space.
I peered in turn into the white wilderness
and each pinched face. At last a lone figure
appeared in the distance, contrasting
dimly to the blizzarding lash. The shape
slowly enlarged and darkened amidst
a snow swirl and the howling wind. Yes,
it was him! Battered with a crust of ice,
pummeled, windblown, chilled to the bone,
he slogged doggedly home. He had found
our neighbor well, her phone that was dead.
first published in Illinois State Poetry Society
also published in GLORY IN THE ORDINARY Chapbook
©2009 Bonnie Manion