So long now has that story of deep wintering
obsessed me: how the club-footed god sets his sights,

plucks a girl out of a field as easily
as a flower, and takes her down with him.

Which is to say, look beyond the metaphor of brute
abduction to the underworld. But for the most part,

this has been the mother’s story— how she scours
the land and badgers the powers that be to get her back.

Fallow the fields and seas; famine and drought,
fruitlessness, the icy blade of her anger raking

across the countryside— oh I’ve wished too
for that wide level of influence but mine

doesn’t extend as far. Season after season
I work but brace myself for another

failure to raise ransom enough for permanent
parole. Season after season, stoic, I keep

clean and stark the white banner of my hope:
bone buried in a field of snow.

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