On Frost and Other Calamities (or: a response to Newtown)

I was driving to Portland (Maine) today and was moved by the depth and consistency of frost everywhere, on everything.  And this came to me. After the day’s events (I wrote this on December 14th), which leave me stunned, horrified, aching, desperate in my fear and grief, I feel muted, like this is the only thing I have to say.

We are told the logic of it

the process by which moist air cools, freezes,

drapes itself over plants.

But you’d think it was otherwise, that

rime so even and so evenly

distributed could not come from the whimsy

of the world.  It must

emerge from the thing itself, from

a thin bitter core

osmosing outward to protect the plant,

to armor its arms before the onslaught,

the fracture, the glorious glisten.

This time, when warmth comes, they wilt into the soil.

But now, every surface bristles with glow, sculpted by chill.
Surely there are not so many contact points as that; surely 
we do not live quite that vulnerable, exposed 
to the air like sores.  Surely 
this armor must be necessary.  Surely 
there is a purpose to this hardness, this crystalline crust:  
the discovery of all our touchingness, every surface an opportunity
for damage, for light?

One comment on “On Frost and Other Calamities (or: a response to Newtown)

  1. Sherry Sims says:

    Anna, This made me gasp, and wish I’d written it. Or that I’d been able to hone a different or more profound reaction to Newtown than just shock and hand-wringing.

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