Although we lived in a solar home
when the power went out
we burnt a cord of wood
over four days to keep the house at fifty.

The cold plunged so far below zero
the dogs refused to go outside
and held it for the duration
faking sleep close to the cast iron stove.

I ventured outside long enough
to break ice on the wood pile
and retrieve logs
that I split for kindling in the basement.

Each night we spread sleeping bags
on the solar slab so its heat
and that radiated by the cast iron stove
kept us through the night.

On the fourth day the county snowplow
finally cleared the county road
which meant I had only a quarter mile more
to shovel for freedom.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Bent to the Task

Lori writes the word winter on paper.
She sketches snowflakes in the margins.

The flakes are not anatomically correct.
They lack symmetry.

Feeling odd, she sketches them
with five and seven points.

Each flake has speared
a long stem of winter grass.

A stiff wind does not blow them free.
Lori shivers from the wind chill.

With a ruler she draws angled shadows.
Straight lines make the scene unnatural.

Lori cannot trace the wind’s arc
or the circular motion of the swirling grasses.

copyright © 2023 Kenneth P. Gurney

Fifty-Two on the Radar Gun

Ice covers the surface of the birdbath.
The sparrows have no skates.

Nothing disappears.
It is blanketed under snow.

In the colder months I write more
about long scarves and mittens.

The street lights are brighter
reflecting up toward the sky.

A stranger passes by with shovel.
Ten bucks to clear the walkway.

I finger the smoothed object of a snowball
and test my arm’s accuracy on a telephone pole.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

English Breakfast

Snow collected outside the window
as frost collected on the inside.

I thought there was a law
the prevented the heat being turned off in winter.

But it might have been that backhoe
that severed a gas line affected this house.

A fire burns in the fire place
and I learn to sleep with flickering light

and a sleeping bag unrolled
on the spark singed carpet.

It is a matter of too hot facing the fire
and too cold facing away.

There is the drip drip drip of the faucet
intentionally running so the pipes won’t freeze

in case I figure out how to heat water
for my morning tea.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney