I’d been looking for it all week—
at dawn, not sleeping at midnight—
and when I woke this morning,
my imaginings were true:
the moon had finally fallen,
spattered itself all over everything,
the lawn out there like wet white suicide.
No stars. No sun. No horizon.
Yew trees, once gum-like green,
bowed down now under the weight of it.
The blue birds, all gone into hiding.
At the corner, another SUV
plows into a mailbox,
dead letters, pink and green,
scattering across the invisible street,
steel box, still swinging
from one left-over hinge.
And that rending sound, metal on metal,
the screech of unwillingness toward yielding.
Still, it’s not finished yet.
In other words, it’s still coming.
I’ve already put the extra socks
and that old pair of brown boots in the trunk.
I’ve been trying to prepare to start walking.
Did I mention my affection?
For things, that is, rightly-lit, and concrete,
for the steady hum of hospitals and helicopters and small engines,
or the color of traffic, that blur of red and blue, across the glittering black of asphalt.
Why to Survive December Outside of Boston
though it may seem too easy—
there is the thin line of magenta most cold mornings,
the one that seeps across the horizon,
and lovely slowly imperceptibly—
if you’re awake, if you’re watching;
and then, if you’re still paying attention,
the show explodes: orange, scarlet, gold
the old down comforter, stains and all
(coffee? Nyquil? what happens when a cuticle or scab—or
something more internal—is picked or scratched or torn?)
waking early, or not—the choosing, those dim grey mornings, nose tip frozen,
the choice of it
that each cough or ache or passing fever is not an indication of meningitis
or love or disfigurement
fur—or the decision of it, along with or abetted by perusal of the contents of your freezer
or shopping list
ok, maybe not heat, or not yet—maybe just that stacked pyramid
of kiln-dried wood, pale and fleshy, fresh scent of it,
the one in the garage, leaned in the back
against the plain grey wall, the one that’s just waiting there,
commercial-grade pots of split-pea soup, and the bone for the dog from the ham
knowledge—or memory, at least;
all that red and green and all those cartoon commercials
will be over before you know it—
and you could turn off the tv,
leave mail in the box, and cards and catalogues,
you could ignore everything, especially anything with a tendency
toward sparkle or blink—or embrace it, or
with monkish detachment, or from a cool or disdainful distance
you could choose not to
you could be above it
you could observe
the Longfellow Bridge is closed for repairs—and will be for the next three years
after all, concrete abutments are useful only in terms of suspension—
or perhaps permanent canvas—or for lift—or hiding—or for some semblance
of shelter—or there might very well be
an endlessness of possibility
there might be
someone will remember—you know it. Someone will.
Though it may not be who you want it to be.
So, again: yes
and of course, there’s you
Chris Warner, graduate of the Harvard University School of Education (M.Ed., ’97), is the author of a micro-chapbook, Strokes (Mostly) in Silence, and her poem, “Engulfed” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Chris also teaches yoga, core strength, and meditation in West Boxford, MA, and currently leads the creative writing program for inmates at MCI Concord, medium security prison.
Stacy Esch lives and works in West Chester, Pennsylvania, teaching English at West Chester University. Digital art and photography are the twin passions that compete alongside her interest in writing, reading, songwriting, and gardening. She has previously published work at Turkshead Review and wordriver literary review. She is currently selling a calendar through Spruce Alley Press.