By Peter Halstead

Our guests look at the land
This time of the year and see no snow—
Or less than usual, but no,
The wheat and brush expand

Through the ermine coat of firn,
Fluffed up by the air and sun,
Spotted with dark bits of twig and cone,
The arid landscape has to earn

Our love, its spindles, stalks, and mud
As burnt and dead as any splinter
Off a fire in this Rembrandt winter,
So what enflames our frozen blood

Has to be the world itself, bled dry
By what? By the wanton excess of the fall,
By the warming earth’s unmuffled pall,
By (too much) aspiration in the summer sky.

Tippet Alley
December 31, 2017