Before the Hard Freeze

by Kevin McLellan

I couldn’t do anything
about it, swallowed

a shallow lake, arctic

one, wore a first barrette.
Natural way

to identify as female,

right? My hair long
enough. Also

a first. And then what

could be a last time
when I move to

Vermont. Mountains

I am drawn to. A thing
meant to last.

Unnerving, I will not,

not from lack but
from the quality of

dreams. My sunken

eyes. In the details of

innocence, the pileup.

Why I am growing
out my hair.

Kevin McLellan—author of: Ornitheology (2019 Massachusetts Book Awards recipient); TributaryHemispheres (resides at the University of Arizona’s Poetry Center and other special collections); [box] (resides in the Blue Star Collection at Harvard University and other special collections); and Round Trip—makes videos as Duck Hunting with the Grammarian.