Her sickness brought me to Connecticut. Mornings I walk the dog: that part of life is intact. Who’s painted, who’s insulated or put siding on, who’s burned the lawn with lime—that’s the news on Ardmore Street. The leaves of the neighbor’s respectable rhododendrons curl under in the cold. He has backed the car through the white nimbus of its exhaust and disappeared for the day. In the hiatus between mayors the city has left leaves in the gutters, and passing cars lift them in maelstroms. We pass the house two doors down, the one with the wildest lights in the neighborhood, an establishment without irony. All summer their putto empties a water jar, their St. Francis feeds the birds. Now it’s angels, festoons, waist-high candles, and swans pulling sleighs. Two hundred miles north I’d let the dog run among birches and the black shade of pines. I miss the hills, the woods and stony streams, where the swish of jacket sleeves against my sides seems loud, and a crow caws sleepily at dawn. By now the streams must run under a skin of ice, white air-bubbles passing erratically, like blood cells through a vein. Soon the mail, forwarded, will begin to reach me here.
- Mark Olival-Bartley
- As the resident artist at EcoHealth, my verse these days finds inspiration in the specter of future pandemics; for my dissertation at Amerika-Institut of LMU München, where I edit a weekly circular of U.S. poetry, I'm anatomizing the prosody of E. A. Robinson's sonnets—I also teach English and tutor composition.
Christmas Away from Home
by Jane Kenyon