Hear Aimee Nezhukumatathil read "Overwinter"
Or click here for a link to the Mp3
We have been waiting out the winter
for eight years. I don’t pretend
to talk for you or my neighbors—
but I have been given permission
to speak on behalf of mollusks, insects,
and various wily birds. This is the price
and the pleasure of a new president:
those who were hushed now feel
like they can finally chatter and natter—
flex wing and leg freely. The clutch
of snails on the fencepost near
my house can finally unclench
retreat to damp underboards
of tool shed. And I have it
on good authority at least one
spicebush and three swallowtails
have promised to arrive a few weeks
earlier from their Southern holiday.
Those who overwintered have returned.
Those who fell asleep are awake.
I myself risk it all: I climb to the top
of a blade of grass the aperture of my wingshell
opens and closes and opens again.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil (Fredonia, NY) is the author of Miracle Fruit and At the Drive-In Volcano. She is associate professor of English at SUNY-Fredonia and lives in Western NY with her husband and son.
(Originally posted 1/23/09)