Jennifer Lunden

In February: After a complaint to my acupuncturist before getting on her table.

There’s not even reason for hope till April.
The robins will come, but they will be the Canadian robins,
Which come in February, and not the American ones, which come in spring.
I’ve heard rumors from points south that people have heard birds singing,
That snowmen are listing in the thaw.

But another polar vortex is on its way.

T.S. Eliot said April is the cruelest month,
But he had not lived in Maine in February.
Don’t the lilacs bloom in April?
Don’t the tulips burst through the dirt?
Or is that May?

I know that in the shade of our yard the snow lingers late.
But I remember the crocuses and the tulips and the white daffodils.
And I remember the snowdrops because they come first.
And of course the forsythia, its garish yellow
Forgiven because it is the first color of the season.

The Farmer’s Almanac predicted this brutal cold, these heaps of snow.
But every year we forget what winter means
When the first snow falls in puffy flakes
And we put our hands to our cheeks and watch in wonder.
“It’s snowing!” we say, like children, forgetting, for a moment, the shoveling,
The cars that won’t start, the slipping on sidewalks.
We remember the snow forts and snow pants and snowball fights.
We remember tromping through the snow, the creaking of the snow.
We remember the hush of the city after a freshly fallen snow.
We remember, and then we forget.


What Hope

Here I am, pinned
to the acupuncturist’s table,
splendid in royal blue robe, purple wings.

These might be called
the Jesus points,
pins at the wrists and ankles.

What hope for ascension
has the butterfly, etherized
and pinned in its glass box?

Jennifer Lunden’s essay “The Butterfly Effect” took first place in the Creative Nonfiction “Animals” issue and went on to win a Pushcart Prize. Other prose has appeared in River Teeth, Orion, The Yale Journal for Humanities in MedicineEclectica, and Wigleaf. Her poems have been published in Poetry Canada Review and The Café Review, and she has read them live on CBC radio. In May 2015, accompanied by a circle of six dancers, she performed an original poem for Esduardo Mariscal Dance Theater. Lunden is a therapist and writing coach in Portland, Maine, where winters are brutal and acupuncture sometimes vital to survival. She loves sugar—particularly glazed donuts, Napoleon pastries, and pumpkin cake with cream cheese icing—but for health reasons dreams of it far more often than she eats it. Read more about her at

 … return to Issue 7.3 Table of Contents.