Kirsten Keppel

Winter Lemons

“A scattershot of snow is blowing in, a stray confetti…” 

from Ed Hack’s “Magic You Can Trust”

A torta della nonna and thimbleful of limoncello,

two symbols of my lemon-scented lineage, 

sit on my kitchen counter – 

a sprinkling of summer in late January.

I love lemon when I get good news!

Since late December, I’ve been waiting to learn

if the two spots are clean;

Good news! The margins are clear. No melanoma.

Maybe this is why I celebrate in winter, 

when everyone is moaning It’s so cold out,

and no one rejoices at snow.

I’ve learned to sprinkle snowflakes like confetti, 

Whatever the weather, where my greatest gift

is celebrating the sun at its lowest! 

It’s the last poem in the packet, the one we don’t read, 

yet my group in the writing workshop all discuss. In it,

a scattershot of snow gets compared to stray confetti,

and the title is Magic You Can Trust. Like winter!

It’s bittersweet, like these sugar-covered almonds that

made the journey in diaspora. Those slivers of almond 

and sugar still make my tongue shiver with pleasure.

They hold magic I can trust, confetti, 

my physical reminder that the next 24 hours 

are all we ever have. So, celebrate what we can!

I love tasting lemons, 

grateful for magic,

grateful for skin. 

Kirsten Keppel is a 2017 Russo Brothers Italian American Film Forum semifinalist for her documentary Ringraziamenti: The Saint Joseph’s Day Table Tradition. She is a member and past videographer of the Abruzzo and Molise Heritage Society of Washington, DC, and a regular contributor to Ambassador magazine of the National Italian American Foundation.  Her poetry has appeared in Mediterranean Odyssey,The Chesapeake Reader, and Lombardi Voices. A descendant of Molisani great-grandparents, Kirsten lives in Washington, DC.