Every year it buries us under sinuous drifts
just when our tattered faith has been repaired
by nesting owls and sudden crocus and the bright
return of the dawn chorus at first light,
white beast heavy and wet and howling –
the teeth of it tear at branches that withstood
every winter gale, spruce and cottonwood
felled in their first green burning,
early lambs in their birth blood
ice-locked to the ewes' wet bellies. Dare
to drive shirtless out to check the cattle
in hot afternoon, be found at dark in the rift
of some coulee, frozen to sleep, death-rattle
blizzard wind, the radio still singing.
B. J. Buckley has taught in arts-in-schools and communities programs throughout the West and Midwest for more than four decades. She has recent and forthcoming work in Plant-Human Quarterly, Vita Poetica, Sugar House Review, Calyx, and Whitefish Review. Her chapbook, In January, the Geese, won the 35th Anniversary Comstock Review Poetry Chapbook contest and will be published this spring.