Winter Walk

Ten below, and the snow is waist deep,
She doesn’t want to talk to me:
I must respect her wishes.
The trail needs to be broken again,
It’s heavy work, lifting snow and ice
With the tip of a snowshoe.
After a thousand paces
I open my jacket and remove my scarf,
The spruces dump powder on my head.
A jay and a cardinal fight over grain,
The stream at the foot of the dam still flows,
Here I sit and ask the world:

Why must we have so much space?

I said I would support her and Brandy
Even though the girl isn’t mine.
For that, I thought, I might be loved.
Apparently, it’s not enough.
Now what? I love the girl
And she loves me, we spend hours
Playing hide and seek
In my two room cabin.
I’ve already read to her
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

We have no phone, and our nearest neighbor
Is a hike over the crest of the hill.
Without a functioning truck
We flounder here for weeks on end.
Last year, the timing chain broke.
Fixing it would cost more
Than the truck is worth.

I didn’t drag her here:
She came in the spring
And begged me to take her in:
Covered in bruises, I couldn’t really say no.
Last night she slapped me twice,
Accusing me of trapping her.
She wants me to get a job

To buy ourselves a car or truck,
But where? Seasonal work is over,
The last work I had was digging spuds.
It’s too far to walk to Dover.
So I sit here and drop twigs
Into the sluggish brook,
The wind blows snow down my neck,
And grackles cackle forlornly.

I walk into the hollow where the hemlocks
Cast impenetrable shadows.
The snow whirls over the meadow grass,
Former lovers come and go
Taunting me with losses while
Owls hoot with laughter.
I have no answers, but this I know,
She’ll leave when the spring rains end.
I’ll be alone, again.
Living here, only for myself,
What good is that?
People weren’t made to live alone,
Hearts are made for sharing.
I pray to Aphrodite, but
Wind is the answer I get.


Gawaine Ross was born in Boston in 1951. Homeless many times, he became a Wiccan, and then a nurse and is now retired. He has had poems published in The Susquehanna Review, Tales of the Talisman, Mouse Tales and other journals. He participates in open mics in Cambridge.

Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters.