First Winter in Kopjes, South Africa
We smell winter arrive in smoky trails of wind
lurking low over dry fields.
Grey dust fills our mouths and eyes.
I knit hats for the children,
pull them low over their ears each morning.
They always come home bare-headed.
They itch, Mama, and we can’t hear our friends
count to 100 when we hide in the ditch.
Daytime sunshine lulls us
into shucking our coats.
Sunset winds surprise us
with tremolo blasts of cold.
Evenings blaze orange and red
against a black-blue sky.
Winter nights are so dark.
Stars pierce the sky with light
as white as icicles hanging
off the roof of our old house
Vivienne Popperl lives in Portland, Oregon. Her poetry has appeared in Rain Magazine, VoiceCatcher, an online journal of women’s voices and vision, The Poeming Pigeon, Persimmon Tree Journal, and Oyster River Pages. She was honored to serve as a poetry co-editor for the Fall 2017 edition of VoiceCatcher magazine.