AS THE SHORTEST DAY SURRENDERS TO THE LONGEST NIGHT
Coyote crosses the backyard in his ancient gait,
three feet on the ground, one raised. I check
to make sure the cat is in the house. No
sun. No shadow. Just a vast gray vat of sky.
I think about a list of resolutions I could make,
but won’t. I think about my broken country.
I think about my broken shoulder. I think
about how both could benefit from invisible
light. Ten dollars will light three big candles and
ten small ones at the grotto where I go to call out
a petition of names, asking mercy on those who
ask nothing for themselves. At the bird feeder,
no competition for a lone flicker. Imagine birds,
remnants of flying dinosaurs. Imagine squirrels,
nesting for the night, which have an average life of eleven
years. I am thankful for this knowledge and for
a house to myself this afternoon. Tibetan prayer flags
strung at the edge of the woods flutter like colorful
hearts in December’s body. They carry the pulse
of intentions but never make any promises. The cat
guards the yard from his perch at the window. His
eyes are either open, or closed. He never blinks.
Susan F. Glassmeyer was named Ohio Poet of the Year for her first collection Invisible Fish (Dos Madres Press, 2018). She is also the author of two chapbooks. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Rattle and most recently JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association. Susan’s love of poetry led to the creation of April Gifts, a ten-year project honoring National Poetry Month. An archive of richly annotated poems, along with information about her own writing, can be found here: http://www.susanglassmeyer.com