Winter Candor

by Christopher Kennedy

A popular misconception: The cold rain is my child. If anything, I am the rain’s child, though that, too, is unlikely.

More likely I am the father of a loose tooth, the child of a desiccated hipbone.

When the lark’s tongue sings, the full moon quivers in the sky. This is the first sign of a long winter, which I prefer to think of as a cold, white silence.

Winter horses devastate me. I want to be the steam that shoots from their flared nostrils as they chase each other across the white, shadow-strewn fields.

Bare trees invite thoughts of skeletons. Another reason not to think too much.

Zero divided by zero is the sky this morning. White abyss; eternity flower.

If I listen closely, I hear the crocus stirring underground and understand the need for Jesus.

Winter is the year’s soul cast in white moonlight. There is no soul to speak of today.

The mind wanders too far and comes back empty. Except for two black dogs excited about snow.

Christopher Kennedy is the author of three collections of poetry: Encouragement for a Man Falling to His Death (BOA Editions, Ltd.), which received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award in 2007, Trouble with the Machine (Low Fidelity Press), and Nietzsche’s Horse (Mitki/Mitki Press). His work has appeared in numerous print and on-line journals and magazines, including Ploughshares, The Threepenny Review, Slope, Mississippi Review, and Double Room. One of the founding editors of the literary journal 3rd Bed, he is an associate professor of English at Syracuse University, where he directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing.

Back to Issue Two: Winter 2009