It begins with a whimper.

A small crack

That we hardly notice.

Perhaps just a pinhole

Quietly waiting

Innocent .

A small accident.

Nobody’s fault,

But a fault,

Even if not owned.

Just a whisper

No need to hush

Because after all

After all

What harm can such a tiny defect

Do beyond that

Miniscule imperfection.

And so it is ignored.

We cannot see

The spreading spider web

On the weakened surface,

Do not look for it

Until the whimper

Is a low groan

Of pain

And still the groan

Seems unrelated


Like the groan

Of a tree limb

Sagging just a bit

Under the burden of

The ice, weighing it down.

A crack, unheeded,

Between it and

The trunk that bore it

So many years ago.

One small part

A little injured

The whole seeming

Still strong

Nothing to worry about.

And then the season


The cold sets in

And settles in the crack.

Frost finding a home,

A place of refuge

And a place where

Its presence will expand

To make it fit .

The spider web cracks

Cannot abide.

And the whole

No longer stands.

The limb falls.

The glass breaks.

The world is not

As we believed.

The whimper is a shout.

We are all shattered.


Bev Hartford


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