After The Three Mrs. Smiths, Kelli Hoppmann, oil on panel, 2006

The ice age is over. A white wolf snarls,

then turns back into a bitter wind, limping

toward the blizzard’s heart. You can’t say

it’s spring if you won’t see it coming on.

It’s time to don a demure mask of warmth,

blood-red. Even if you don’t open your eyes

you can feel the steady sun moving north,

twelve miles a day. Down in their darknesses,

bulbs wonder whether this is what Hell is.

Now the redbud blooms against gray sky,

and soon, soon it will be time for flowering

crab, lilac, every year the same old same old.

You can imagine how this era will end. Snow

melting one spring, and never falling again.

F.J. Bergmann

F. J. Bergmann is the poetry editor of Mobius: The Journal of Social Change ( and freelances as a copy editor and book designer. She lives in Wisconsin and fantasizes about tragedies on or near exoplanets. She was a Writers of the Future winner. Her work has appeared in Abyss & Apex, Analog, Asimov’s SF, and elsewhere in the alphabet. While lacking academic literary qualifications, she is kind to those so encumbered. She used to work with horses. She thinks imagination can compensate for anything.

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