Editor’s note: We asked Minerva Rising contributors to respond to this great prompt from PW.org:
“January and February can be harsh months for most parts of the world. The wind howls over the frozen ground, through bare branches and near-deserted streets, fogged windows blurred as though forming a barrier to keep the icy world at bay. On days like these, how do you kindle the fire inside of you? What keeps you going, warms your spirits, and insulates you from the creeping chill? Write a blog response to this. Or, write a poem, fiction or creative nonfiction to serve as kindling—with the power to comfort and warm your heart.”
The Words of Others
The words of others they bring me round
like a sifter transforms a lumpy pile
of unbleached flour
into fine fluffy powder
like egg whites stiffen
like melted butter browns
like 450 crisps
The words of others they warm me through
like a space heater toasts a drafty loft
of concrete and plaster
into thick, balmy comfort
like matches ignite
like chopped wood stokes
like charcoal burns
And Faulkner, if I may,
“All of us failed to match our dream of perfection.
So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible.”
The words of others, they bring me round.
Jessica Ciosek lives with her family in NYC. Her short story appears in the “Mothers” edition of Minerva Rising.
– Faulkner quote from The Paris Review.