A Type of Warmth Is Forgetting

It’s all settled. The birds are quiet, I catch a glimpse of a lark
in the sky, but it’s quick and doesn’t come again.

The path to the stone is cleared,
it hasn’t snowed since,

the exposed earth is long trampled. Far off,
a smaller girl wails, and we, gathering, are hushed.

The father came earlier this morning,
to pour buckets of warm water onto the stone, again and again,

only to find it frozen over moments later, name
freshly erased, forcing him to repeat his task,

his battle against the oncoming frost
to reveal carved letters below the ice,

a little steam rising.
Yes, vanishing.

CATHRYN BALES is currently pursuing her MFA at Columbia University’s School of the Arts.
She is working on a thesis manuscript of poems titled Sewing The Mouth of the River. Her poems have been chosen as The Honeyland Review's "Spotlight on a Graduate Student" for their
spring issue, 2009. Ms. Bales is a native New Yorker who received her BA from the Gallatin School at New York University.