Friend and Winnowing Fork

by Leslie Williams

One ski weekend last year there was thunder, hail
high wind, we had all arrived inside after a good day
on the mountain: eating, laughing, warm at the lodge’s
fire. The storm seemed contained above a layer of cloud,
though flashes still were visible. My friend decided
to take her children out on the patio to dine in better
atmosphere, under heated awnings with votives all aglow.
We went on with our meal inside and then came a rattling

explosion; I ran to look out the French doors: nothing
was there. As if the snow has been falling peacefully
for hours, it draped everything. I could see spaces
between snow-covered planks on the deck and between
the smaller slats of wooden tables, but absolutely
no sign of life, or anything I had known to be there
just minutes before. Not a broken plate or crumb,
not the smallest disturbance in the snow.

Leslie Williams’s most recent collection is Even the Dark, winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Kenyon Review, The Southern Review, Image, America, and elsewhere. Visit her at