Ashley Mueth

Navy patched flannel and a heavy fur coat hide a husky man
He holds an axe in his mangled hand and follows her footprints
Furrowed in snow, leaves crunch beneath him
He grunts from backbreaking labor, his reward will be a warm, cheeky smile
From his six year old daughter, a bright and kind adventurous child.

Suddenly, a shattering scream echoes through the evergreens and pines
In staggering fear, he throws his axe into his firewood.
He thunders through the snow drifts and wooded brush
To the icy pond, the scream nearer. His faint, pale face
Mirrors the panic of the teeth chattering, flushed hopeless girl
fixed in frigid, blocky, icy water. She cries out, desperate to grasp the
overhanging branches of the ancient evergreen.

Trembling, he throws a knotted rope to his daughter,
And tugs her against the blocks of icy water,
And reaches for her miniscule hands,
Pulling her out of the freezing pond.
He grasps her, his mind lost in anxiety,
As they tightly embrace.