by Anthony Robinson

It was supposed to be January because
it's always January in the folktales,
because a hoary landscape gives

the icy crunch, the frozen leaf,
the piper's footprints along the road,
a mailbox row hemmed in by snow.

So much exists just beyond the Sunday
clinging to a wet branch, sharp spikes
glisten in the Alaskan dusk and drop silently--

It wasn't Alaska, of course, or even
January, but the little lights filtering
down from above made us think so.

The night however, was tenuous and indifferent
to the small stones lining the road, to the road
winding up to the cabin, to the lights that made us.

In the wood, we found a grocery list, a trust
fund for birds.  We ate and sang into the mouths
of our neighbors because we couldn't quite fix

the compass; broken needles lay about, dry and piney,
and all around the winter gave up music note by note,
reduced the pealing bell, the shattered cross to a mere

reflection of what we really had, we four friends.
Which is to say, nothing.  And so grateful for this.

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