one metal shovel

we scoop snow like dirt 
until the snow is the soil 
& everything grows ice-clear
past spring. the second ice age 
was not predicted by anyone
but my father who has always 
stock piled aprehensions. 
we have a closet just for fear:
dark & musty & take turns 
peering inside, then, out of respect,
we tell no one what we saw. dad witnessed
carrots, like fangs, yanked 
from the white earth. 
the next day he bought 
a sturdy metal shovel & propped it
by the front door like a new wife.
we knew it was really a new eon
when it snowed on into june.
now, in august, accostumed 
to eating ice for every meal,
we use the shovel to reach 
the old asphalt road 
that used to carry us elsewhere.
edges swarm with blizzard 
& must we. sometimes, when dad
isn't guarding the shovel,
i will cradle her down to 
what used to be the back yard 
& i'll dig like mad, as if i might
hit stone or dirt. the shovel 
clinks like a steel dress & 
all i'm left with are piles 
& piles of snow & a large 
heart-sized hole where the planet
should be. cruel shovel, letting me 
labor all afternoon to reveal nothing. 
i tell the shovel my secrets
like sometimes i'm thankful 
we work only to survive & sometimes 
i want to eat sweet & heavy 
squash or syrup. i bite 
my hand for the texture. the fear closet
gets more use than it should. 
my brother is probably there now
staring & staring. me, i'm going 
to learn how to grow peas or tomatoes
in the chill. we're al waiting 
from the mammoths to return.
when it happens we have the shovel
to protect us. dad has faith 
in the sharp edges of her face.
until then, i fill the holes
but not before peering down into them,
pretending i could, childlike,
tunnel a hole through the earth 
& emerge on a green otherside. 

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