Sally Thomas

Design in January

The hill remade itself in pencil strokes ––
Slash slash –– because you knew
Already how two spreading willow oaks
Joined shadow to shadow

Across that grassless slope in mid-July. 
Here the sun would fall. 
There it wouldn’t. In your dreaming eye, 
Hostas pushed up, scroll

By cross-hatched scroll, unfurled themselves, became
Legible as you drew
Their pattern in, serrated as a flame. 
All day your garden grew,

Imagined, seen. Your sure freehand design
Blossomed, while outside
Red clay lay naked, stripped by winter rain. 
“Solomon’s Seal,” you said ––

The very name was like an incantation
Summoning itself
From nothing, all its green-gold variegation
Waving, half-

Evoked. Then something intervened. Your pencil
Drawing, left undone,  
Still speaks a garden to the fallow hill, 
The partial sun.

Twelfth Night 

Already a spider’s run a shining skein
Between one standing magus and one who kneels,
Offering myrrh. Outside, a too-warm rain

Pounds the early spears of daffodils
Who’ve rushed their cue and think it’s Holy Week.
Inside, the manger occupies all mantels.

The child is everywhere, and wise men seek
Him still, throughout the house. In knots of three
They travel, bearing fragile gifts that break

From their re-glued-on fingers. After thirty
Christmases, these touring companies
Begin to feel their age like you and me.  

Our berries drop. By shuddering degrees, 
Our candles drown themselves in waxen lakes.
The tree’s a staring corpse. Stars in a blaze

Of silver glitter, hung from wires like fish-hooks,
Gaze down on the leavings time has strewn
Before the infant king who, smiling, looks

Steadfastly at the air, changeless and clean.  

Sally Thomas is the author of a poetry collection, Motherland (Able Muse Press 2020), and a novel, Works of Mercy (forthcoming from Wiseblood Books later in 2022).