2021 Poetry Broadside Submission # 4: SEPTEMBER HARBINGER By Sarah Isto, Juneau

By Sarah Isto, Juneau

On the third morning that dawn frost
stiffens yellow leaves on the path
my daughter again hurries her oatmeal
to scramble down to the creek in hope
of being first to bring the news.

A quarter hour and I see her careful return
upturned hands stiff at her waist,
damp gloves a tray for the translucent
offering—a sheet of skim ice intact
though prone to shatter—definite evidence.

She knows this is the beginning.
Stream ice will grow in from the edges,
thicken, lock, and pack with snow until
we can cross with ease the unbridged creek
to reach the open highway of winter river

where dog teams,
snow machines,
and all the animals
of northern childhood
leave their tracks.

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