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April is the cruelest month, according to T.S. Eliot. So, what is February? What’s July? Choose a month, and borrow from T.S. Eliot to write for ten minutes on why August is the _______-est month, or December is the __________-est month. Describe the month using only the details that defend your judgment of that month. Put: 1) at least one vegetable in the free write 2) at least one rodent 3) at least one child in your freewrite. The rest of the details are up to you. Let your memories from that month, as experienced throughout your life, suggest those details.

April (in Michigan)
By Meghan Prindle

A month when sun and storm
And fern and frost
And song and snow,
And fear and faith and hope
Do battle.

And yet, the small mouse in the field and the child in the schoolyard know the fragile fruit of winter's work and patient planting.

NOVEMBER

is the month of the imposter. The month
you recall only vaguely enough
from the last year to believe
you’ve seen her before when she knocks
on the door or stomps on the brakes of her minivan
on the freeway
while the traffic was bumper to bumper. Whatever

happens after that
can only be halfway attributed to her negligence.
It was a carpool. She was taking
all these screaming kids to the last
track meet of the season. You’ll

forget about all this by this time next year, when
someone just like her comes home
with a plastic bag of meat to cook for you
from the grocery store. She tells you she’s your
mother, so you believe it. Whatever
she cooks, you eat.

November, because of the history of herself
she has to conjecture, since
she never lived it, but must pretend to know
the names of all the students in her class, to keep
all the phobias of her patients straight, is also

the most exhausted month. By April she’s
about how difficult all of it will be, while the rest of us
are filling in the bubbles on our tests with
our No.2 pencils. No one’s grieving. No one’s
wondering when she’ll be back. No one cares if she’s
the same as she was the last time, or the time before that.

November is the teacher slumped at her desk
at the front of the classroom. The
crossing guard who falls asleep at
the intersection of our town’s two busiest streets. Or—

the ball of gray yarn the woman
she used to be
is using to knit a winter
hat for her son, which, just
like the year before, she’ll never finish.
The whole thing
will unravel
when she drops it down the stairs.
Exactly the way it did last year.

Some kid stands at the center of the playground.
Alone. Without the hat. But without, also, gloves
or a scarf or an adequate jacket. The school’s

principal will have to call that child’s parents, or
grandparents, or foster care providers—whatever
guardian that child might have—and impress
upon them the need for proper
outdoor attire, how

cold it can get, how fast. A list of services
available to them will be provided. It’s

incredible how much clothing is stuffed
into bins and boxes. There’s

more charity to be gotten out there than most
people can imagine. But

November was another
month entirely
this time last year. This

time last year she had no idea what some

You have
the wrong number. I have
no responsibility for anything whatsoever, let alone
for some kid shivering on your playground
wearing October’s jacket.

We weren’t poor, but whatever
we were supposed to be wearing
like the other children of November, we

hung up. Went back to bed. She
was our same mother
from year to year, it seemed.
She’d be back.
And whatever was
dragged out of the Lost & Found for us
in the meantime, we
refused to wear it.
We weren’t cold.
Those were the children of some other month.
Those were the children of some
mild June afternoon or
middle of a blizzard we’d never met—although, if
in another year you pointed her out to us, dressed
in her black slacks, with
her hair away from her face with some
bobby pins, or
her bare scalp covered up
by a wig
given to her by some other mother who’d also
died of cancer, a memory of something like that
might come back.
It’s best to stay busy, however.
There’s a whole year
to get through
before she comes back to us. Or doesn’t.

January: the calmest of the months.
By Evers

Out the window
Of the cottage
On the hillside

There is snow
Top to bottom
There is peace

Small brown mice
Slither into burrows
Sleeping the day away

When the tops
Wither away
White snow obscures carrots

A child comes
A splotch in
A sea of snow

Calm is the snow
Calm is the nature
Calm is January

Temporary Summers
By Isabella Jacob

july is the best smelling month

it’s the smell of cakes topped with blue and red fruit mocking an american flag, being snatched by little brown hungry hands in a beloved immigrant household

it’s the smells of fried bitter melon, fish, and beef mixing in your nose to create a wonderland full of spice and delight that overwhelms you into a sneeze

it’s the smell of pollen surging up my nose as we bike through the wilderness studying what gives us life, the chords in harry styles’s songs, and thinking everything has to be okay

it’s the smell of fresh cut grass and water balloons being catapulted at four small children, buckets of water being dumped on the losers head and trying not to get the dog wet so he doesn't smell like a nasty rodent from the forest

it’s the smell of four teenage girls giggling about the stupidest boys in the stupidest pajamas eating the stupidest junk together on a couch, knowing there will never be days like these

it’s the smell of wedding season with it’s loud drums ringing it in, with the shaking hips and the dancing spirits with it’s horrid food and the best dresses, it’s fake gold and pure happiness, dancing with no one and everyone till midnight

it’s the smell of the sun peeping through my blinds reminding me that it’s 11 o'clock and i'm still in wrapped under my sheets, knowing this day will be a lazy tuesday, thursday and sunday, with nowhere to go and everything to see

it’s the smell of the rental car we hop into when we reach a new or familiar destination and explore something new, my sister and i gazing out the window in utter awe

it’s the smell of magic that lingers in the air, the summer skies and not having a care, it’s the way that when we look to the stars and know this magic is so temporary we can feel it in our fingertips, so we hold on to each other and use are final wishes

August is the Dampest Month
By Logan Corey

Even the tender folds of lettuce leaves peel away, already rotting
in secret, rolling peels of sludge across their faces,
splatting a dank shadow on the kitchen counter

The mice, blamed for sampling the cuffs and hems tucked
in winter storage, slick
themselves in the attic’s blister-sauna,
nestling their sweat between the folds

My niece, decorated in a photo-negative of furious hair, smashes tendrils
Against her muggy forehead, exhausted by the thick wet clog
pouring out the air

The Warmest Month

October is the warmest month.
Not physically of course,
but it makes me feel
warm and fuzzy all over.
The autumn leaves are
maroon, tangerine, and gold,
bringing warmth to the surrounding world.
Pumpkins line the porches,
like an army of expressive men,
ready to ward off any haunted creatures
in the dark of the night,
protecting the children roaming,
disguised as characters of
who they want to be.
Everyone begins to layer up,
preparing for the dead of winter
but still enjoying some warmth from summer.
Even the squirrels and birds
and all of the other critters of Michigan
begin making arrangements for how
they will survive the desolate cold, too.
Smell of pumpkin spice and apple cider
waft through the air,
bringing me a sense of calm and comfort
right in the middle of my sternum.
October is far from the warmest month physically,
however it is the month that brings
my cold heart the warmth it needs.