Sleetmagazine.com

Volume 13 • Number 1 • Spring-Summer 2021

E.L. Blizzard

A 21st Century Season of Illumination

He tells the bone-deep pain with his pterygium-covered eyes. I wave and he nods his head with a half-smile, our quiet greeting. Walking to the corner after their long day, several tired and resilient men gather up children in their split hands and chat.

nuzzling necks
of daddies-
golden hour’s light

 

Sitting a box of bruised vegetables inside the door, I sip a flattening coke. It is one of the three cans of soda in this scrubbed but dilapidated trailer. Kept here for our visits, I’m offered the gift to show respect and gratitude. I drink it to show mine. The never-stop nurse ushers one after another into the van for last minute health checks, giving those who need them recently expired medications. I count what’s left of the crates of too-expensive-to-buy produce. The slap-slap-slapping of hands and smell of the first tortillas cooking make my stomach talk. A girl toddles over to me, falling once on the way.

rubbing her
red string bracelet
milk teeth smile

 

Last week, we handed out donated chicken thighs after women and men returned from a twelve-hour day. These families are moving on, down to Florida where strawberries, tomatoes, and oranges wait. As my Spanish starts to improve, my field school research is wrapping up. It started with an interest in ethnomedicine, it’s ending with a much different focus.

Preparing to leave, we hug the women. “Las veo pronto,” the nurse says. Men wave. “Gracias por alimentando mi familia,” I yell to them. “Dios bendiga,” they reply.

riding a moonlit road masked by trees these secrets

 

The Beauty of PBS and (Sometimes) Ugliness of the South

Walking to the car with her sacks, she looks toward a sunned sky and pulls in crisp air. Leaves are still gone from the parking lot trees and a patch of stippled snow hangs on in the median. Passing her by, an unmasked gentleman sneers at her masked face and spits at her feet. Mr. Rogers whispers in her ear just keep looking for the helpers.

unloading
milk and bread
deer neighbors in the yard

 

 

weary years re-reading illicit writings while holding on the walls of a rabbit hole (FLIP!) moments return of indulging in mysteries and romance as wrecked wannabes exit and a tag team enters with a powerful woman and a poetry reader (PHEW!)

But Don't Get Complacent Y'all

 

E. L. Blizzard lives in the US South and has work forthcoming or in The Other Bunny, Bones, Drifting Sands, Failed Haiku, and several other journals. She studied to one day be an anthropologist but chose social work instead. Fortunate to have allied with many people, she’s advocated on issues faced by immigrants and refugees, survivors of intimate partner violence in cis and LGBTQ+ relationships, and those experiencing homelessness. Now she has a new-ish bridegroom, an old dog, and children here, there, and yonder.