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Friday, November 28, 2014


by Joan Colby


A window centered over the kitchen sink

Looks out upon the birdbath, the feeder,

All the way past the chicken coop to the

Red barn behind which trees feather the horizon.


Today the birdbath bears a lid of snow,

A few chickadees address the feeder.

The cherry trees that line the dry lot fence

Are bare armed, bleak as gun metal sky.


My hands delve deep in soapy water.

China and silver clinking a weary hymn.

The scrub of cookie sheets or skillets

Grates like November lurking out the window.


The window frames each season. That’s

The reason farmwives demanded placement

To gaze upon the bridal wreath in bloom

Or hollyhocks upholding the old wellhouse.


Dishwashing invites contemplation. When

The hands are occupied the mind escapes

Its practical routines and lounges out

Into a landscape frozen as today’s

Promised grace of one more Thanksgiving.


Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers and How the Sky Begins to Fall (Spoon River Press), The Atrocity Book (Lynx House Press) and Dead Horses and Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press. Selected Poems received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize.  Properties of Matter was published in spring of 2014 by Aldrich Press (Kelsay Books). Two chapbooks are forthcoming in 2014: Bittersweet (Main Street Rag Press) and Ah Clio (Kattywompus Press). Colby is also an associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press