Never mind the grand green vistas,
the granite-walled highways,
the crunch of tires on a dusty dirt road.
Forget the wild blackberries lining the path,
the clumps of brown pine needles
separating each blade of grass
and don’t get attached to knobby purple hollyhocks
and fat, spotted chickens,
the clean, hot scent of queen-Anne’s lace
in the morning, the loon cry at midnight—
In just a few months, you’ll don your down booties
and hide in the house till your neighbor
plows the driveway;
you’ll watch the woodpile shrink
and calculate splits like a bank balance.
You’ll wake with your fleece cap already on,
wrap your hands around a burning ceramic mug
and think bitterly of summer, that serial enchantress.
And when the room has finally warmed up, you’ll smell
fresh cold leaking in from the edges of the window
and you’ll glance out through the glass and fall hard—
for dead weeds in refrozen snow,
for stunted skies and half-light broken by skeletal branches
and for all that artless blight.
Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 17, Issue 1.
See all items about Sarah Carleton