Chelsey Harris

My Mother Becomes a Shadow Over Snow


When she was still small enough to be led by her older brother,
he took her by the hand, snuck her past their fighting parents
out the kitchen door to the garage where he folded her into

her winter coat, buttoned it, and tugged mittens onto her hands.
As they walked, hand in hand, down the block, she thought herself
a light blue shadow gliding over the snow. He took her to a house

where friends of their parents lived. Light from their dining room
windows fell over the canvas of the yard, and my uncle, seven then,
raised his own ungloved finger to the doorbell. The woman

who answered frowned a little and waved them inside.
Minutes later her husband hushed into his boots and walked
the path of small footprints left in the snow. He veered off

to knock on my grandparents’ front door, letting his eyes follow
the trail to the garage, already hearing the muffled yelling inside.

When his gloved fist thudded against the wood, their fighting stopped.
My grandfather opened the door and the other man stepped inside.

Chelsey Harris is currently in the MFA program at Southern Illinois University. Her work has appeared in The Missing Slate, Cooper Street, and Dressing Room Poetry Journal, and is forthcoming in Hope Grows Here: Stories of Resilience from Survivors of Domestic Abuse.