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Sunday, January 23, 2022


by Terri Kirby Erickson

Beyond the snow-laden hill and ice-covered
field, ancient oaks are raising their bare limbs
toward a sky marbled with clouds. Gilded by
a sun we cannot yet see, they look fixed to the
firmament, their shifting so subtle it seems as
if these clouds might never move again, as if
time itself has stopped and winter has come
to stay. I would not mind it. It is cozy here by
the fire, watching the day begin through panes
of glass, my hair busily turning white, my body
grateful for its rest. I never thought of growing
older, imagined I would look and feel the same
forever. But the decades fly by, and now winter
seems to suit me best. There is nothing I need
to do and no place to be. A good book is open
on my lap, and my husband of thirty years is
just up the stairs. I can see the little boy next
door already sledding with his mother. He will
remember always how it felt to zoom down the
steep bank with the person he loves best in all
the world—both laughing, faces red from the
cold. Meanwhile, oaks that will never again be
saplings, hold within themselves the memory
of spring. And the winter sky that was, only
moments ago, filled with gilded clouds, has at
last allowed them to drift ever so slowly away.

Terri Kirby Erickson is the author of six collections of poetry, including A Sun Inside My Chest (Press 53), winner of the 2021 International Book Award for Poetry. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including "American Life in Poetry," Atlanta Review, ONE ART, Poet’s Market, The Broad River Review, The Sun, The Writer’s Almanac, Sport Literate, Verse Daily. Her awards include the Joy Harjo Poetry Prize and a Nautilus Silver Book Award. She lives in North Carolina.