Punishing Snows

by Karina Borowicz

When the punishing snows came, mother
would stand with her hands outstretched
and filled with crumbs for the sparrows.
How easily she took on a stone gaze frightened us,
but we were scared by the slightest things.
Boots clanging in our building’s stairwell. A dog’s howl
cut short in the middle of the night. Grownups
with a finger to their lips turning out all the lights.