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Thursday, October 29, 2020


by Penelope Scambly Schott

“Frost on the grass,” photograph by Vladimir Axenov.

The man is asleep,
his arm flung back
toward the headboard of their bed.
He snores lightly.
The dog curls warm and small
at the foot of the quilt.
The dog’s ribs move up
and down under fur.
The woman is awake.
She slips out
from under the quilt
and walks to the window.
She pushes back
the white curtain.
Orion is rising over the shed,
his sword tickling
the top branches
of the neighbor’s cottonwood.
The man is still sleeping.
The woman stands at the window.
She knows Mars has moved west
past where she can see it
from this side of the house.
Winter is approaching.
The man’s hair gleams white
in starlight.
The dog’s fur gleams white.
Frost glazes the lawn.
The woman is ready
to step through the glass
in her long white nightgown.
She would lie on her back
in the white frost,
lie there a long time
under stars,
the flesh of her shoulders,
her buttocks,
the heels of her bare feet
feeling the spin of her planet.

Penelope Scambly Schott is a past recipient of the Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Her newest book is On Dufur Hill, poems about the cycle of the year in a small wheat-growing town.