Wolf night

On the darkest nights, the coldest nights
when the sky is moonless
and the ice so cold it sings
through the frozen lake, 
we do not visit.
We stay at home
with our fires burning
and a candle in each window.

All night we stay awake
and the grandmothers
tell stories of wolves.

This story begins as an ordinary story.

A girl did not want to marry anyone her village
Or the villages nearby.
So she went alone to the dark forest
On wolf night.

“A night like this night?” the smallest girl says
and looks at the snow drifting up against the window.

“Just like this night,” the storyteller answers
with a golden gleam in her eye.

She put on her skis, her fur cloak, 
her woolen hood, her fur mittens
and went silently through the dark night alone
to the place where the wolves were.

She waited until she saw two golden eyes.
“I wish to marry you,” she asked. 

The golden eyes turned away in refusal. 

So the girl went on.
Further into the darkness,
deeper into the cold,
into a darkness darker than the moonless night.
Colder than the black water under the ice
until there was no light at all.
Not even a cold blue star. 

And she became the darkness.

And she became the cold.

And she became the ice singing.

And became a wolf.

-	Copyright Kay Winter

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Edge of the edge

Years before this happened
Before the storm
When the moon looked down for the first time
The endless sky knew this journey.

I drive on through the night
Toward the edge of dawn.

This edge: the edge of the end

This edge: just before the edge of the beginning

With the black ink map
I mark each hour against the night
I mark each star as it falls into an empty space
I wonder if the moon itself will break into pieces
Before I arrive.

I drive on
waiting for the world to move me
into a wide prairie space
where I can run into the tall grasses
to the others arriving.

We have come so far, we say.

Copyright Kay Winter
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Object Properties: Shadow, No Shadow

Shadow, no shadow

My house is a house with windows
that let me see all the way through.
I can stand in the shade on the blue patio
and look all the way through
to the summer sun in the front.

Shadow, no shadow

There is a mountain in Eden
I want to climb.
They say from the top 
You can see all the way through paradise
To the edges of it.
A horizon is 
a description of a great space
(not a line).

We are sailing through it now
in a disjointed time
at the end of a dark year.

 - Copyright Kay Winter

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We told ourselves

We told ourselves we would be safe
And feathered in our nest.

And weren’t we? 

Me, and the ghosts of me,
Reluctant to leave through the rainy season.

Time enough to go to the basement
And open the graves of good intentions.
Love is love when it alteration finds, we said.
Tucked up, we said. 

Rubbled in anyway by sirens and ash.
So deep the door sticks
only halfway open.

Here we are.
Troubled times and canned soup
And the big bag of rice on order.
Let’s watch the Lucy Show.
Calling Adam 12.
Same bat channel. 

Me, and the ghosts, and Mrs. Muir. 

What else can I do but wait
For the tea to brew and invent
More memories
That I tape to the wall of the dark hallway. 

I praise the wallpaper. 
Your roses are rosy today, I say.
This day is a day is a day.

Copyright Kay Winter
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What remains

You stop at the gate

And watch my candle go

From room to room

Measuring what remains.

Copyright Kay Winter

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Dream of Stars

Sleeping inside while pretending to be awake

The afternoon passes and dusk falls

Still I sleep, eyes open.

Someone draws the curtains

And clicks a lamp on.

Still I sleep.

The stars outside awaken

Nothing will happen here

If I go.

Sleep falls into me.

The roof above me is gone

The stars are singing ancient songs

To captains in prayer

And those in flight

Star to star they sing

And I, a star now, too

With voice of light

Sing too.

Set your course by me

For this season only

Or remain



  • Copyright Kay Winter
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We appeared only to vanish

Away from all spaces that held our light

Into trees dark with melting snow

Into the thawing black waters of the creek

Into the brief and blazing sunsets

That sank away into night.

  • Copyright Kay Winter
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December Omen – Star

A worn, slightly damaged tinsel star with small electric lights

A star made in imitation
Of an ancient sign
Journeys begun unexpectedly
After long waiting
What gifts will we bring?

  • Copyright Kay Winter

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November Omen – Early Moon

A small half moon in a pale sky seen through bare branches

Up early enough
For the morning moon
Branches bare
We have come
An impossible distance

Copyright Kay Winter

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October Omen – Snow Shadow

A line of light and shadow cast in snow

Shadows and landscape edges
The troll face of trickery and treats
The year about to get lost
Crossing into dark woods
Passage, shadow, mystery, magic

Copyright Kay Winter

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