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Rising Wisps
Francis Masat

My near-frozen breath rises above me. I scratch a small circle in the frost on my bedroom window, look out at the snow that has flocked our neighbor's trees. Even inside there is the smell of cold fresh snow.

our first storm together
listening for creaks
in the old roof

Sunlight gleams through cracks in the weathered clapboard siding. Thoughts of chores and skiing. I slide out from the warmth of covers, pull on stiff, ice-cold clothes, open the door to a glistening white yard.

the smell of sweet hay -
steam rising
from the barn floor

The winds howl outside as we set out cakes and a teapot with steam rising from its spout. Filled with hot golden tea, a mug's warmth flows into my hands.

sixty-fifth birthday -
snow-white wisps
dangle above my tea


"Flock" is an intransitive verb meaning "to flock" or "to decorate with flock." At Christmas, before there were artificial trees and styrofoam snow, people often would whip Ivory Snow (a flaked soap) to the consistency of whipped cream and flock (slather) a tree with it. When it dried, the effect was that of soft, deep, glistening snow on the branches.

Raised and educated in the Midwest, Francis Masat moved to Key West, Florida, after 35 years as a university professor in the Midwest and New Jersey. He now enjoys living, volunteering, and writing in a tropical setting. His older work appears in Avant, Instructor, Liberal Education, Mathematics Magazine, Pony Tracks and Buffalo Trails, and The Pentagon. Recent work, which reflects his Midwest roots, some new directions, and the tropics, has been accepted by Amaze, Artistry in Poetry, Bottle Rockets, Frog Pond, Haiku Harvest, Haiku Spirit, Heron's Nest, Illinois Times, Life in Alaska, Lynx, Mayfly, Modern Haiku, Muse Apprentice Guild, Paper Wasp, Poetry Midwest, Prairie Poetry, Short Stuff, Solares Hill, Tiny Words, Simply Haiku and others.