Posts Tagged ‘winter’





See, I want to say to my son. See

how the pond has frozen in thick,


continuous curves. See all the lines,

how they ring each other, like dozens


of tiny orbits. I want to show him

the marvel of it all, but he is too old


now for marvels, or perhaps too young,

the precise age where beauty is boring.


And so I take the child of myself to the pond

and show her the rings. I resist the urge


to explain how the meltwater formed them,

how surface-tension forces make liquid melt


cling against the lower parts of the ice.

Instead, I let her gaze at the miracle,


trace the concentric bands with her fingers.

How curious the rings are, like frozen halos


that fit enormous angels. How astonishing

in their design. Just wait till I show her


we can walk on it, too. I let her amazement

become my own, our feet slipping


across the smooth surface, our breath

rising in white ephemeral curls.

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they said snow—

in the yard, drifts of gray juncos

and heaps of all that isn’t

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the seed company sends their catalog

with 162 full-color pages of vegetables ready


to harvest. From snap peas and bush beans

to shallots and quinoa, plus every shape


and curl of leafy green—red ursa, red ruffled,

red Russian, Bolshoi. This is the same night


my son asks me as he falls asleep to explain

the difference between science and religion.


One, I say, is based on fact. The other,

I say, is based on faith. Though tonight,


as the temperature falls below ten,

and I regard the carrots, dark orange


and almost glowing off of page 29,

I begin to wonder how different


the two really are. I notice how the promise

of a slow-bolting, scab resistant


varietal sounds like a psalm I love—

the Lord, it says, will keep you from all harm—


and I look at the Royal Chatenays

and the Yaya Nantes and say out loud


to the dark kitchen windows and

to the cold winter air, I believe, I believe.

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One Brilliance



frost in the dried weeds—

sometimes it takes the cold

for things to find their shine

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There is snow

all around us now

and no tracks leading

from the house

into the wood,

into the white—

Please, I need

to walk in snow

and have beside me

you, there’s something

that the winter

wants to teach us,

I don’t know

what it is, but

it’s not only about

the cold, not only about

the way that some things

seem to disappear.

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Poor violets don’t know any better.
They only know it’s been warm for weeks
and the grass is greening and the frost is gone
from the soil. It’s uneasy pleasure, watching
their small blue faces appear so early this year.
Part of me does not want to enjoy them—
the part that longs for cold, for snow,
for the winter that has not come.
One day, there will be nothing left to say.
For now, there are violets blooming
outside the kitchen door. They are beautiful,
nodding in the breeze, no matter
which direction the wind blows.

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Come, Wind

I am starving for winter.
There is too much bloom in me.
Tuck me into the season of emptiness
and shadow and deep, unfathomable snow.
Teach me to be unrecognizably myself,
the everything that isn’t, the generous
space between. Between what?
Let there be no one here who knows
how to answer. Let the wind reshape
anything it finds.

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Impossible, But a Gal Can Wish

Here, love, here
let me be your coat,
and here, let me
be your warm home. Let
me be your studded snows,
your mittens,
your hat, let
me be your shovel,
the sand for your path.
We may not always
agree, we may not
understand, we
may never, ever know why,
but there is so much
so much cold outside, so
here, let me be
your scraper, your
Sorrels, your long
underwear, yes,
your long underwear,
not the scratchy wool kind
but the kind that you
choose to slip into and here,
let me be your fur-lined
dreams, your heated seats,
your neck gator, poles,
north and south,
your perfectly waxed
Nordic skis, please,
please, let it be me.

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The Real Work

Only the parsley
still grows. Beside it,
the tall, brittle stems
of blackened basil.
Behind it, limp leaves
of green and red
chard splayed on the dirt
like empty hands.
Along the fence,
brown stalks
of sunflowers,
taller than my head.
Dead. This is what
the cold does.
It takes it all away.
I crouch beside
the green parsley
and remind myself
to be warm with you,
tell myself
it is not too late,
that sometimes,
against the odds,
despite these cold,
cold nights, something
green and fresh survives.

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Twenty below
this morning
and I gasp
at the air,
part shock
and part delight
in the pure cold chill of it.
And though the sun
is barely warm
on the cheek
it is light
and getting lighter—
and that is just
the light we see.
There is more,
they say,
and I feel it,
some vaster spectrum,
they way I feel
the love I cannot
see, how it blesses me
like the sun,
blesses me
even like
the cold.

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