Sleetmagazine.com

Volume 14 • Number 1 • Spring-Summer 2022

Kathryn Kysar

Last Night at the Farm

The lake ice recedes under the warm
sun, the southerly wind. White lightning
flashes, the rain moving on at sunset.
The pink horizon shimmers.

The labyrinth’s earth is wet but firm.
Like a mother, it’s confusing, trodden,
solid, and fierce. The persistent path
is long, the center deceivingly close.

A cottontail rustles the tall grass.
Change is here: a brightening moon,
the first storm of spring. But the well
is full, like this wandering, this night.

Autumn Outside Ely

“If I do not witness these leaves turning orange, who will?”

Bruce Cohen, “Tang”

Who is here in the flame-colored north woods?
The small brown chipmunk, running stripes for speed;

the gray young wolf trotting down the road; the pervasive
clouds; the moon hiding behind that hill. You bathe yourself,

not swimming to the island point. You are not contemplating
your life held together by duct tape, strings of silken threads

made from your own belly, your own blood. Each day,
the sun comes out, more brilliant than the next, and you

go on, despite the echo of car tires on gravel,
the white dog’s welcome, the sail on that distant shore.

Witness the flaming orange, red, and yellow leaves.
Let it all burn, then start anew.

Kathryn Kysar is the author of two books of poetry, Dark Lake and Pretend the World, and she edited the anthology Riding Shotgun: Women Write About Their Mothers. She is the founder of the creative writing program at Anoka-Ramsey Community College. She performs with the Sonoglyph Collective and resides near the Mississippi River in Saint Paul.