Bio Note: I grew up in the rolling, forested hills of Connecticut but have spent my adult life in California—first on the coast, and now in the desert. My poetry comes out of all of those places, and then some. I have published nine poetry collections, most recently Now Voyager with illustrations by Susan Abbott.
My father left early that morning. Flurries kept coming, burying the street. For me, a snow day, free from first grade. But my mother missed the list of school closures read on the radio. She wailed, I can’t call the neighbor, not after what she said last time. And I have to take care of your brother. Desperate, she snapped, Get your coat. You’re going to the bus stop. Snow topped my galoshes as I trudged up the street, no one in sight. It was so quiet. The longer I stood there, the whiter my world. Encrusted, I became the Snow Girl. The nearest door opened— a crone ended my exile, told me to go back. I didn’t want to, but I did— with an ally to see me through. Whenever big storms came, I’d dig into drifts at the foot of the driveway, fashion smooth-sided caves, spend hours cocooned in cold and silence— at home with the forces that made me who I am.
What Does Your Driveway Say About You?
—Billboard, Palm Springs, California The surface is genuine desert dirt, partly worn down to bedrock. At the start, you can’t see the house— it looks like the road to nowhere. People used to miss it altogether, until we lined the sides with stones. First, go up the rise to a blind spot that could be fixed with dynamite. You must throw yourself in— there’s no other way. Bear right, down the roller coaster, junipers crowding the track. The last ascent leads to a concrete pad in front of the garage, the near edge bolstered by cobbles and a strip of crumbling asphalt. Some deliverymen park on the street and run up with our packages—it’s easier. We admit, our driveway is not for everyone. But it’s our line in the sand.
Originally published in San Pedro River Review Vol. 10, No. 2, Fall 2018
I Could Be Dorothy Lamour...
a South Seas bride riding out the hurricane tied to a tree by my husband, a Tarzan, the only man who knew what to do, the only one to outwit the wind and save his family. I could be the sultry sarong girl, safe in the canoe as he paddled away from the evil French governor, bound for a secret paradise where no one could find us. I could be Marama of Manakoora, mother of a daughter who would give me granddaughters, and tell them the tale of the palms blown horizontal, the church broken by the waves. I could be a legend to outlast my own life, dwelling in a parallel universe of air— every hair in place, immortal against all odds.
©2021 Cynthia Anderson
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