February Awakening

By Nancy Schmalz

A Mineral Point morning as seen by Annika Swenson.

A soft rhythmic sound woke me,
steady and unhurried, soothingly repetitive.
Our neighbor shoveling snow, perhaps?
clearing a narrow path on the sidewalk,
one quiet scoop after another,
getting ready for the day.

Dozing again, I heard purring.
The soft pulse became a dream-cat
warm and drowsy under the covers
flexing her paws in her own dream.

Slowly waking again, I knew
the gentle rhythm I heard
was neither cat nor shovel
but your breaths, calm and slow on the pillow.
The day’s questions waited outside.

The first light of morning
and the benison of your breathing
fell on the cat and the snow,
the shoveled path and the warm pillow,
on my dream and my waking.

Nancy Schmalz is a musician, gardener, teacher and knitter living in a historic home in Mineral Point with her husband, Peter. Her collection of poetry, “Breath to Music, Air to Sound,” was published in 2017 by Mineral Point’s Little Creek Press. Her poetry is featured through Feb. 13 in an exhibit of work by members of the Driftless Poets workshop that meets on the second Saturday of the month at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts. Join them Feb. 13 for an open mic night of poetry and prose at Café 43 in Mineral Point. For more information, see the calendar.