Volume 22, Number 125,
by James Deahl
After yellow autumn has passed from the trees,
although not from memory, great snows descend,
slowly filling firs and birch grove
initially with winter’s scent, later with their white weight.
Grey November yields to bright December,
an unsullied redemption for a year’s losses.
Gullies and north slopes fill, then melt, then fill again
until the big one comes that lasts three months or more,
every hollow choked by the frozen hand.
Patient and unyielding, the vast drifts endure
from mid-December through February’s fury
and well into March. Knee-deep in ravines,
waist-deep where the elevated logging road scouts
a beaver pond, it will be thus until the rains start:
winter’s essence stored and awaiting the sun’s return.
The land’s patient, too. Air freezes in such
brittle cold; maple twigs, red-budded for spring,
draw blood too thickened to flow.
At hill’s edge a jack pine curries wind.
Beyond a treeless scree so steep snow scarcely clings,
each imagined world shimmers
as real as any dream of night.