December collapses
with a heaved sigh.
Only the bachelor jay
bathed in his cerulean vest
resists the fait accompli
of ephemeral gray.

The lynx pads soundlessly
into this laundered, stony light,
tufted ears twitching
to the avian colic
attending her

of wending,
eremitic hare.
Mounting spoor—
shallow spoons
from snowshoed feet;
roods upon whispered white.

Deep inside this refuge,
her feline eye—burnt
ochre to its edges—
promises peril
in a clasping, crushing end.
Though a button breeze,

Time’s muted arbiter,
foretells some misgiving:
cryptic rendezvous
in a lethal distance—
the southernmost verge
of an endangered range.



Gina Bernard

Gina Marie Bernard holds B.A., B.S., and M.A. degrees from Bemidji State University. She writes and teaches high school English in Bemidji, Minnesota. Her daughters, Maddie and Parker, are the two halves of her heart. Her work has recently appeared in Appalachia, Balloons Lit. Journal, The Bat Shat, Border Crossing, Cimarron Review, Fox Cry Review, Glitterwolf Magazine, Tule Review, and Uprooted: An Anthology on Gender and Illness.


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