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Tuesday, January 15, 2013


by Maryann Corbett

Image source: Occupied Palestine

The pious author of the book of Job

lacked maps of isobars to show him where

pressure allows the tongues of wet, warm air

delicately to probe
the hill country, tickling at slippery flows

where winter chill has settled on the height

of Zion. In his poems, only the might
of God breathes down the snows,
pure as surprises. What the psalm observed,

the morning news reveals: a world scrubbed clean.

Changed utterly. Pristine.

The stones of the Old City softened, curved;
old habits stalled; and humankind’s false starts

brought to a standstill. Ancient poets see

how snow grants us new vision, so that we

dream of our own changed hearts.

Maryann Corbett is the author of Breath Control (David Robert Books, 2012) and Credo for the Checkout Line in Winter, forthcoming from Able Muse Press. She has been a winner of the Willis Barnstone Translation Prize and a finalist for the Morton Marr prize, the Best of the Net anthology, and the Able Muse Book Prize. Her poems, essays, and translations have appeared in many journals in print and online, including River Styx, Atlanta Review, The Evansville Review, Literary Imagination, Measure, Subtropics, and The Dark Horse, as well as in a number of anthologies. New work is forthcoming in PN Review, Modern Poetry in Translation, and Barrow Street. She lives in St. Paul and works for the Minnesota Legislature.