aiken snow

In swirl of broken lives in flood
She stands solitary island
In midwinter war eddy –
Frail fixed point in blue,
Bare-arms purple-blotching with cold.
My father saw her there,
And holds her in memory,
To warm for half century
Delicate figure etched in frost
Of Alpine snow meadow,
Where troop trains
Mass and pass unheeding.
No notice she seems to give
As if sleep-walking her dream of the cold.
Home and family gone and nowhere to go,
Not even shawl to preserve her,
And no one to offer.
And yet she moves in memory,
My father’s, now mine, now yours
Through iced decades circling,
Returning-etched emblem of era:
Palest, frail figure in blue.

James Everett Kibler

James Everett Kibler is a novelist, poet, and Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Georgia, where he taught popular courses in Southern literature, examining such figures as William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, Cormac McCarthy, Wendell Berry, and Larry Brown. Born and raised in upcountry South Carolina, Kibler spends much of his spare time tending to the renovation of an 1804 plantation home and the reforestation of the surrounding acreage. This home served as the subject of his first book, Our Fathers’ Fields: A Southern Story, for which he was awarded the prestigious Fellowship of Southern Writers Award for Nonfiction in 1999 and the Southern Heritage Society’s Award for Literary Achievement.

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