Martha Jackson Kaplan

Ice Says Jump

At river’s edge, ripples of ice crack
and jut into saber-sharp slabs thrust above
a roiling current that runs forward up

and over itself heading down the long, slow
incline of the continent. This winter, I too
am jagged like ice, thoughts frozen in consort

with the river’s surface, seem headed down
river, facing unknown sludge or barge or dam
along a levee blocked by too much refuse.

From the bank, I consider the heft of
foot on carapace turning like a falling wing,
aluminum colored as seen from under,

air and water briefly converging, a passing into
elemental chemistry, an ending to consciousness
and pain. I hold, reflect on floe, ponder cold

Not only rivers, but also seasons serve to heal.
I fix an image to endure another gelid night
and frigid day. Wait for breakup, unfettered flow.

Martha Jackson Kaplan is the recipient of the Zylpha Mapp Robinson International Poetry Award, an editor-in-chief award from Möbius, The Poetry Magazine, awards from the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets, and has been nominated for a Pushcart. She’s published in Driftfish, 30 Days in August, Unlikely Stories Mark V, and Bending Genres. More about her can be found at

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Winter 2021