—Joyce Odam, Sacramento
This winter starts slowly.
What is this season of reluctance?
Almost December, too many days
almost warm, nights almost cold
in the countdown of the year.
has taken over the pear tree,
watching from the very tip.
I watched him pecking at the last
stubborn pear a few days ago.
The leaves are mostly gone
from the deciduous trees,
a pile of leaves is caught
in a corner by the front door.
They rattle underfoot.
Two wind-storms have come through,
knocking down trees and fences.
I listened to the old, familiar
of my house.
Nothing has changed much.
Each year’s end feels the same.
Some healing needed.
The strange links of years—
so many different places.
Where? forgotten. When? forgotten.
Stages of time like stepping stones
in fog. Each year turning
into the next. The gray season
will be next, days and days of it.
Long enough to start the edges
breaking around me.
The short days hurry.
The long nights sleep.
Either way is what you time-to,
follow the clock, how it measures
for you, as if you needed to know.
And now winter says,
Let me work as I work,
not as you expect.
Summer dies into autumn;
autumn slips into fall
and has no way out.
Slow winter has hold.
Winter will come when it is ready.
—Medusa, thanking today's fine artists for their contributions!