In the crystal hothouse to escape the cold
I am here, at last. Wrapped myself in gray wool,
blue parka, scarf, mittens, galoshes. Tissue
in my pocket. Slipped just once on slick black
ice on the way over. Now I undress.
Unwind my neck, expose midriff. Ankle skin
peeks out as I wrench off my boots, socks juicy
wet crumples from snow melt and sweat. Normally,
damp would bother, would rub, would threaten
blisters, might rash later. But my pain is located
in another season. My eyes redden. Not from
the sweet fertile fragrance of this place, nor
from the thousand shades of green. I am not allergic.

I am a childless mother. Not pregnant, though last
time I was here I was. Pinks blazing girl girl girl,
fuchsia azalea, cyclamen, hydrangea. Might even call
her by such a name. It is Valentine’s at Como Conservatory.
Everyone’s here. So are the airborne daughters
and sons of species seeking home. A year ago
her father and I came to inhale the ecstatic humid fecund,
be one with the imported jungle outside our bodies
and within mine. On this anniversary I enter
this womb of glass. I curl up in its amniotic breath,
its reverb, exhaling, trembling, finding refuge with
other wandering displaced souls, out of season, but united
in steamy vital congregation. Umbilical vine slung
across my shoulder, a trunk planted at my back.

Pickerel Blooming © Tom McGregor

Rebecca Frost co-founded the Dancers Who Write reading series, won a Verve Spoken Word grant, and, with the Women’s Performance Project, was the beneficiary of two McKnight Fellowships in Choreography. She has taught at the Loft Literary Center and currently teaches in the Theatre Arts & Dance Department at the University of Minnesota. Visit her online at

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Tom McGregor is a painter who tries to find not just beauty but that which tells a story, has a history, affects him emotionally, and, most of all, challenges him to think about where he is as a human being living in this particular time and place.