Ice Waterfall

The dog’s been underfoot all day,
you say.
You two need a walk

Banished, the dog and I
hike toward the river
away from the wind
away from yesterday’s phone call
No one else is out

Above us, the waterfalls are ice
One wave froze in its tumble
over the edge
patiently it waits for a gentler season
unlike my friend Beth who
slipped a rope over
her head and stepped
off a stool

The sun sets with winter abruptness
We turn toward home
A flock of black birds
with much ado and chatter
settles in for the night
The dog hurries, eager
to be underfoot again

Beth had been told,
after fifteen years,
I no longer love you
Before dawn
she walked to the barn
I see no point in going on alone
she wrote in a note

My eyes sting with tears.
Is it the sharp wind,
or the glimpse of you
in the kitchen?
Across the frozen field between us
yellow light spills
like buttercups.

© Katherine Gekker 2007
(Originally published in “The Northern Virginia Review,” Issue 21, Spring 2007. A slightly different version of this poem is section I. Winter, in “Chasing the Moon Down,” a seasonal cycle of four poems set to music by composer Carson Cooman.)

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