Island Farm | The Winter We Needed Each Other

Island Farm | The Winter We Needed Each Other


Pairings Matted Set - This open edition print and poem set is matted and ready to frame. The paper size is 8.5 x 11 inches, and the overall, matted size is approximately 14 x 18 inches.

Philip Conkling’s accompanying poem . . .

The Winter We Needed Each Other

We stood night watches when the temperature fell
To single numbers and then plunged down,
Not into a hell of fire, but of ice that gripped
The chest where the heart is caged.

An elderly matriarch who had passed away
Was laid in a surface crypt with plastic flowers
Until the spring where neither pick nor crowbar 
Could penetrate the ground of her rest.

When the deathless grip of ice sealed the harbor, 
And the ferry stopped cutting the channel free,
Daredevils walked from across the Reach
For a story to tell their grandchildren someday.

Cut off in the backroom of the farmhouse,
The winter dark wrapped us in its tense grip.
We left the faucets running and checked the plumbing, 
As if it were a patient on life support.

Fishermen tied themselves together to chop holes 
Around their boats to move them to faster water.
On still nights the trees outside cracked like rifles.
Old timers joked, “It was so cold, I almost got married.”

When the well pipe froze six feet down,
Neighbors gathered mornings and afternoons
At a spring at the edge of town to fill our water jugs,
The winter we needed each other.

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