By Carol Stephen
and the town lies under siege many days
shouldering relentless heat. In the fields,
soil turns to cracked pewter. Crops shrivel and bake,
leaching their yellow from the fingers of the sun.
Houses become tin ovens hot enough
to bake bread if there were wheat and leaven.
This is the eighth circle of Dante, where
sand hardens to glass cathedrals.
In the catacombs, pressure pries corpses
from coffins. Their bones snap like hollow October reeds.
At dusk, a woman kneels by the well, her
empty palms cup under the memory of water.
-refers from the poem By Winter by Dominique Traverse-Locke