{An Umbrella Special Feature}

Athena Kildegaard

is the author of three books of poetry, Rare Momentum, Bodies of Light (a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award), and Cloves & Honey.

Her poems have been published in such journals as Tar River Poetry, Cream City Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review and elsewhere.

She is a lecturer at the University of Minnesota, Morris.

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I looked out the window to see
my own footsteps across the thin snow.
Only three days before
I said goodbye and went out
to feed chickadees and nuthatches.

I said goodbye not sure
it would be the last, you
in the hospital five states away
breathing cold oxygen.

My footsteps revealed grass in sharp green.
Who knew chlorophyll held until January?

Just there I stopped, not quite
to the bird feeders, my shoes
pressing through to green,
there I stopped to feel
the sharp air strain my lungs.