Rodney Koeneke

Poem for Winter

A bad fall wrecked the soft earth
and every soft creature within it.
But I forgive earth its outlines
and angles, fragility of always being doomed

To speak the same questions
again in a sequence
think up perfect winter
then watch its abatement,

Repetition waiting
beneath each flattened shrub.
But winter doesn’t want you,
it wanted to be sleeping, winter

Has appointments and an office
to perform, doing calculations
for tilting colors sideways
to fit the longer stanza on the page—

The moon’s a white textbook
of higher mathematics
and o her poem’s bitter
and so cold.

Tom’s Wrong

loss is the logic
of any empowerment—

to rip and shred and rip

it’s coming too easy,
Tom can’t be right:

the pain’s
what’s real, to
beat to a
pause the
small mouse

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Rodney Koeneke is the author of four books of poems, most recently Body & Glass and Etruria, both from Wave Books. He lives in Portland, OR.