Melva Sue Priddy, a native Kentuckian, has work published in or forthcoming in The Single Hound, Red Lion Square, Blood Lotus, The Louisville Review, Motif 2: Come What May and Motif 3: All the Livelong Day, as well as Bigger Than They Appear:  Anthology of Very Short Poems and other publications. Her book-length manuscript "All the Tender Stitching This Rent Wants:  A Collection of Poetry" is looking for a publishing match.

Cutting Ice

Pull bread sacks over extra socks
our father said  then find some boots.

After we do, Lorie drags the ax
from the back porch in a jagged line

behind her in the snow, so I take the ax
and shoulder it.  Then we walk out

to the pond to cut the thick skim and shovel
with the double blade to flip ice like fish.

Cut four holes in the same places I cut them
yesterday, do you hear me, then call the cows

our father said, so over and under the five inch
frozen loft that covers the water the cows want, we cut.

In summer they’d drank there, pissed and manured.
Steam and heat that burn our nostrils now

would then have been swallowed by the pond.
You can skate after that ’til your hands get cold

but don’t go near the middle  our father said
and don’t yell unless something is wrong.

Mud-cats and frogs hibernate cold, our guess,
far below, as our oversized boot soles slog and slide.

And bring the ax back, you hear?
Lorie and I will laugh, run and push

each other ’til we are out breath because
we’ve pulled extra socks over our hands to keep warm.



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