by Chitola Utsanami
The wind entered through the sills and our nostrils
Plundering our hearth.
You could see it earlier that morning
Raising an army of snow into drifts and then walls.
The fox and the deer felt this army before.
One went into a deep musky den, the other made a shallow bed under a
shield of fir, fur and fear.
No creature was safe. No one was immune to its progress.
Even a low bearing vole would not dare bore holes in such a snow.
We protected our tent and our naked-ape bodies with blankets and papers.
We fought the invaders with more fire, cursing words, and red wind.
What was wet became ice, what was wood became iron.
Our soft skin dried up like the desert and our lips sealed all moisture in
Like barnacles at low tide.
We tried to help our canvas and roof from an undulating rage.
The canvas ripped, the poles gave way, and the guy-ropes vanished in a
whirlwind of white-mad dust.
We crouched into balls like the fox and the deer taught us to do.
We surrounded the fire and its heat as in a siege-a last stand.
When all seemed lost, silence replaced the fury and we entered our voices–again.
As if waking from a bad dream, it took a few minutes to adjust to a truce-reality.
The wind spent, left not even a small breeze.
The rocks seemed not to remember the trains and the soldiers, too busy
Something rang in the receding distance as metal clashes with another
army or head.
We stood up and tended the wounded: a world of broken branches, rags and
That night, a vole had only to worry about owls, like always.
That night, we counted stars-they were all there.