At the end of my wandering,
I wait with the golden leaves
For the autumn sky
to desire my flight.

Copyright Kay Winter

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Birch Light – reposting

Standing on the ridgeline
just above the golden quiver
of a birch wood,
We see, above the treeline,
a gray, stained sky approaching.

We throw our arms across
Autumn’s shoulders
As if to ask it
To tarry.

So that we can remain
this golden,
this splendid.

Copyright  Kay Winter

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Evening on the quiet bay,
A distant swirl of gulls
against the autumn woods.
Near me, a silent white moth
Flutters toward the balcony light.

Copyright Kay Winter

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At the mountain lodge
Gazing at the autumn sunset
A shared glance among
The blushing maples.

Copyright Kay Winter

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I am afraid
Only the powerless people
Believe it.

The ones who know already.
The ones who have cried in the bathroom
At the homecoming dance,
Who woke for decades in the early hours
Plotting an escape,
Who looked at the ceiling,
Looked at the desk,
Looked anywhere else.
But the ones who need to change,
Don’t  believe anyone,
Don’t believe their own eyes,
Don’t believe
What they did was all that wrong.

The powerless people,
Believe their eyes,
Know what they saw,
What they felt,
Turning toward the wall.

They know that the key fits in that lock,
And that behind that closed door
Is what wiped through their soul,
Wiped through their name,
Wiped through their new dress.

They know.

And they believe each other.

Watch out.

Kay Winter


Slick crimson sloe gin in a few red cups too many.
Potato pancakes after Halloween candy.
The bagged soup
That actually looks like it.
The oily bitter fizz salt water –
Oh sweet mother of God –
that you drink the morning of your procedure. 
That mushroom dish
from the Italian restaurant I cannot ever –
No not ever – go back to.
Have you horked up mushrooms
Then don’t tell me.

Kay Winter


After long late beginnings
The morning brings movement
Past the last of the familiar gray city
And into the wide yellow leaves
Quivering against the gray sky.

I am one of small wanderings.
An unfamiliar corner in a familiar city
Enough pleasant unease.

I gape at those who can become wholly lost
With no anchoring memory
or distant point to draw them.

To move into the unknown
And move mapless.

Copyright Kay Winter

The Winter Woods: A Sestina

From my late afternoon window, I see the woods
in black, ragged lines in winter.
The trees of bare branches mourn the loss
of leaves. Deep within the woods is an encircling mist
Where the soft earth, softer for the leaves, awaits the rain
and the season of austerity and peace

And I too, seek the austerity of winter peace.
In the late afternoon, I long for the woods.
I wait for the passing of the cold and relentless rain
to walk out the small door into winter
into the curtain of the clearing’s remembering mist
The leaf-covered path sings a song of loss

The song of summer’s broken promise, a song of loss
But in my walking the dark shouldered trees offer peace
and quiet solace in the chill and veiling mist
My breath in quiet cloud breathes with the breath of the woods.
Each step forgives the loss, forgives the winter.
In the clearing, breathing within the mist, I await the return of the rain

The passing of the high clouds, gray and filled with rain
ease the well within me that murmurs of loss.
The brown leaves do not mourn the vanishing sun of winter
They fall as they must, in forgiveness and peace.
The afternoon falls into the swift dusk of the woods.
The first drops of rain fall against hands, fall through mist.

Memory lives in mist.
Mist, snow, sun, starlight, moonlight,clouds, rain
Bring lights of their own beauty into the woods
Remembered joy, endured pain, and mourned loss.
In memory offered as prayer, my spirit finds peace
like the wild, bare, and mysterious winter.

By my walking I move through winter,
Walking the earth’s soft floor, along paths of mist.
I leave wait in the woods for the fall of light to find peace
Though the swiftly moving clouds bring rain
I leave behind for that hour, the day’s demands, and honor loss
and the healing paths of winter woods.

The woods wait through winter’s loss
though mist and rain, to offer peace.

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Too Late for This Path

I am walking too late for this path,
but I could not turn away
from the harvest moon rising
across the field as wide
as the magic before me.

I should turn back,
but the frost is settling upon the grasses,
bent and patient.

– Copyright Kay Winter

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