The winter storm warning is in full effect,
high winds and 12 to 16 inches
of accumulation expected in the next 24 hours.

The weatherman’s voice curls around the room
like a spell, comfort to all present.
Mom on the couch hooks ochre yarn,
halfway to sweater arm, Dad and one daughter
lean over the counter with the Times,
sharing the occasional snippet,
while a second daughter sits at the table
with a cup of chamomile tea.

We advise you to cancel or at least postpone
any imminent travel plans.

There are frequent checks, long looks
out the front window as Mom, Dad, daughters,
fleece wrapped and intimate
with private affliction, behold such pristine beauty,
vaguely pleased by agreement between
what’s seen and what’s heard (their lives short this),
that voice mild as cows at pasture.

We’ve got you covered.

Such pleasure in being dry and warm
in this minute; faintly aware
the slim barrier holding tempest at bay.
The daughter at the table finds herself pulled
thousands of bedtimes back: rapt, charmed
by a prophet Mom, forecaster of everything,
who reads aloud books about a family of talking bears,
determined little engine, girl called Madeline.
This daughter can still hear herself repeating
on Mom’s leaving the words of the bunny
who bids goodnight to kittens and mittens
and clocks and socks, hears now hint
of prayer before inevitable surrender,
chill of the unknown: shapes transformed,
moon rising in the window.

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KRISTEN ELDE, an editor by trade, lives and writes in Brooklyn. Her words have appeared in the Web publications McSweeneys, The Northville Review, Pindeldyboz, and Word Riot, in addition to such magazines as BUST, Health, Runner's World, Running Times, Shape, The Writer, and Writer's Digest. She's also one half of the team behind a wildly unpopular parody food blog, to which she loves contributing.

12 responses to “The Weatherman’s Spell”

  1. DOD says:

    Wonderful imagery – especially like the cows at pasture. Smell the cow pies! You are a gifted writer.

  2. Tehe. Thanks heaps, DOD!

  3. Robyn Johnson says:

    Your poem gives new meaning to the “weather report”, and to how it feels to be safe and warm with a storm predicted. It makes me ponder routines that are predictable even if the weather is outside of our control, and how important and intimate those rituals are. Beautiful scene you evoke.

  4. Irene Zion says:

    Kristen,

    I hope your mother sees this. It will warm her heart.

  5. kristen says:

    Heyo Irene–

    This poem’s a semi-fictionalized account, though the mom piece does align w/ my own experience. Grateful. (Also, that’s her–Robyn Johnson–above. Smile.)

    xo,
    k

  6. Tawni Freeland says:

    I love the way your words wrapped around me like the ochre sweater mom was knitting and made me feel warm in the middle of a snowstorm. I like that you made the sweater the color of grass in the winter. I love contrast of soothing “Goodnight Moon” and other such cozy references against the foreboding weather forecasting. I pictured the television in the background of the peaceful scene, like a shouting person on a street corner being ignored by passersby. Really gorgeous writing, Kristen. xoxo.

  7. kristen says:

    Why thank you, sweet lady. I drew from a powerful experience in writing it, and I’m glad this came through for you.

  8. Uche Ogbuji says:

    What I appreciate most about this poem is how it changes stride from sweep of broad sentences to syntactic staccato. I think of it like the wide sweep of the weather system contrasted against the hearth-sized vignettes of the living room.

    And I much prefer your Weatherman’s cozy curling to the grubby yellow fog’s curling about the house in Prufrock 🙂

    • kristen says:

      Ha! That yellow fog IS kinda ick–and, well, yellow.

      Thanks for the compliment, Uche. Means heaps coming from a gifted poet like yourself.

  9. Evocative and lovely, Kristin. Very much enjoyed it and look forward to the next one.

  10. kristen says:

    Many thanks, Lits!

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