Verbesina virginica


Before the first sheet of light tips over the scrubble ridge

I have come to the place

(No--still the engines hum...a few yards more:  HERE...STOP.)

Of silence.  This is the place of enormous silence.


A north wind gnaws at the red tops of the Shumards

Water seeps from the hillside

Bubbling up through a thin silver glaze

Runs cold down the path between jumble karst boneyards

Winter rosettes cling to the slick, dark mud

Pressed tight to what warmth there is in the earth’s mute prophecies


This late-blooming tall one

Winged friend of the monarch

Has broken in the first sudden, hard freeze

Tender skin split

Veins pumping frozen sap in translucent ribbons

Frothy white plumage ruptured forth in

Delicate curling curtains of ice


The cold-forced frost flowers

Are ethereal, fragile glass

Before the first light

Before penny-red sun dogs arrive growling

Snouts strung with yellow spittle

Course muddy paws trampling


Devastatingly beautiful double sacrifice

Surrendered to my eyes alone


Next time, I would have you come with me

I would have you crush me with your rough body

Before the light in the ice


                                                                        Ingrid Karklins