Winter for a Moment Takes the Mind
{An Umbrella Special Feature}

David W. Landrum

is professor of Humanities at Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has published poetry and short stories in many magazines and journals, including Web Del Sol, The Barefoot Muse, Driftwood Review, Small Brushes, and many others.

He is currently at work on a series of poems about 16th Century English poet Robert Herrick and edits the online journal Lucid Rhythms.

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Remembrance with Gas Heater
Kokomo, Indiana, 1956

Our gas heater
beat metallic dins
as often as the thermostat would drop,
speeding, slowing,
rush of warm air,
blue and yellow flame;

I’d lie in front of it and read and draw,
safe in our living room
where no wind came.
The snow muffled the traffic noise outside,
and trains that ran down Nickel-Plate
and Grand Trunk lines a block away.
I heard the one bent fan-blade
strike, a metronome,
presto then allegro, andante,
lento, and to silence once again.

We lived beside our hearths,
in the warm sites, in the kitten-heap of family:
by the kitchen stove, in quilted beds, and there,
spread out before the heater, awaiting
the clank and chime
that tolled the winter hours.

My parents read, my little brother slept,
my sister colored while the frosted sky
arched over us, a vault of jagged stars,
and me beneath, embedded in my place.