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).