Poetry & Prose

Keeping Warm

While the bears and the

squirrels and hopefully the

poets of the world retreat

into our dens for the winter,

the voles tunnel winding

paths under the snow.

You can see them when

it all melts in the spring;

a city of squiggles left by 

warm noses pushing 

through the frozen grass.

There are two kinds of voles 

that the endocrinologists 

study. Both palm-sized 

and coffee-colored, identical 

except that only the prairie

voles mate for life. To tell them 

apart, the scientists with 

gloved hands place them 

in opposite corners. The

meadow voles don’t mind.

The prairie voles crash

together like magnets or

mythic lovers, and do not

separate. My good friend 

tells me that a boy in your bed

is like a radiator. That even

in the winter she can’t use

an extra quilt when her 

boyfriend sleeps over. I see them 

in the mornings, pouring coffee.

Her head on his shoulder

and their little hearts beating.