Prose Poem, March, Published today

Burningword Literary Magazine



As in, pick up your mud-crusted boots and move along. Forward, onward. Stopping to ponder one’s thoughts could lead to a frozen death, a swampy drowning.


As in, the January memory of one million bodies filling the DC green (not green at all), the wind cold and biting on our cheeks, my children separated from me. They were near the Metro station, not far from where I clung to a flag-post but we could not traverse the sea of protesters. We could not march, or even move. Our arms shook, holding up signs of anger, and love. Winter, then spring.


As in, rain for ten days, stop for two. The trees bloom briefly, confused. They drop the petals like wet mittens on the ground, ground down to a faded sidewalk tapestry.


Dickens noted,  “When it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.” But the light has eluded us this year, trapped in a box on Fox news. Blanketed with East Coast sleet, west coast floods. We watch a goat, standing along on the roof of a dairy farm, waiting to be rescued, cars floating by. Swollen rivers of doubt topple the last walls of credibility.

“We are sunk,” we say, turning off the television. “We’ve gone to the dogs.”

Simultaneously, our soaked Shepherds press muddy paws on the glass door.  The mother dog’s eyes brim with anxiety. She is ombrophobic — March is not her month.


The invasion of mold in the carpet, water in the cellar, and ants. The ants erupt from a crack under the dripping window sill. Highly organized, they move four abreast across the counter, boldly. They resemble one million women in the streets of Washington, from an aerial view. The ant parade takes a sudden turn at the liquor cabinet. Drunken ants pile around the simple syrup. I understand. We drank too at the end of our long march.


As in, thousands of refugees who approach the border. The king of fools calls upon his reluctant troops to raise arms against them. He labels them The Caravan. As if they come with wagons and horses — settlers to the wild west. Could we offer a homestead, or a land title? No. To share even a jug of water risks arrest.


Emily Dickenson welcomed it like a secret lover, locking the door against April.  My faith in the poet falters. To prefer March to April — strong evidence of insanity. I beckon April to visit me instead. I promise spring cleaning, fresh bulbs, and tea in the solarium.


My dry skin flakes away, words sit rough in my dry throat, and my winter belly creates a mantle over my jeans. The shadows under my eyes deepen to small tar pits. I awake with no spring in my step and my hips protest.

“Still cold and damp,” my joints moan.

“Hush,” I self-chide. “Lift your feet. Onward. We cross the border today. March.”

Joanell Serra

Joanell Serra lives and writes in Northern California. Her first novel, The Vines We Planted, was published by Wido in 2018. An award-winning playwright, novelist and short story writer, she has published stories in Eclectica, Blue Lake Review, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Poydras Review and elsewhere. In 2015, she won a full scholarship to Santa Barbara’s Writer’s Conference and also attended the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.

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