Weekly Poem: Taken by Storm

January 24, 2014

Voices, Art / Culture, Poetry

Up near the northern border of North Dakota
the third day of an arctic blizzard, a social worker
loads her hatchback with jackets and coats
and drives the frontage road beside a frozen river.
She comes to a man wrapped in a hospital blanket
seated on cardboard on top of a bed of snow.
He doesn’t want the jacket she offers.
“Then I can take you to shelter,” she says.  

“No,” replies the man.

I’m listening to news, sipping wine as I cook.
Sideways snowflakes streak the dusk.
The journalist wraps his piece: “Some homeless
are mentally ill; some are clinically depressed;
many have been previously hospitalized.”
The-man-who-would-freeze hijacks the evening.
Bold exit or compact with hell freezing over?
Might suicide be a pilgrimage towards the light?

He’s lodged in my conscience now, but he isn’t talking.


(Image derived from photo by WoodleyWonderWorks)

This piece was written by:

Anne Valley-Fox's photo

Anne Valley-Fox

Anne Valley-Fox has published four books of poetry: How Shadows Are Bundled (University of New Mexico Press, 2009), Point of No Return (La Alameda Press, 2006), Fish Drum 15 (Fish Drum Press, 1999) and Sending the Body Out (Zephyr Press, 1986). She has also published five books of nonfiction (one co-authored with Sam Keen; four co-edited with Ann Lacy). For more please see AnneValleyFox.com.

Contact Anne Valley-Fox

Honorary Subscription

Is your time on New Mexico Mercury worth the price of a cup of coffee a week?  Then click on the button below to purchase a recurring monthly subscription.

Payment Options


One-time Payment

If you'd like to pay for the content you've enjoyed on New Mexico Mercury with a payment when it's convenient for you, click on the button below for a one-time purchase.


Responses to “Weekly Poem: Taken by Storm”