December 2016

Pass Creek

          by Tom Sexton


The lamp we leave near the door to light

the cabin if we arrive after dark

hissed and flared before it caught.

When it did, I thought I saw blossoms

on the leafless tree outside the window.

I was both amazed and oddly comforted

to find that they were only moths

that had come to rest on the half-dead tree.


When was it that I first began to long

for the sound of Pass Creek beneath deep snow

and the endless blue of unobstructed glaciers,

for wind that bends me like a sapling

and for those few December days when light

touches its coat of many colors to the hills?


—from For the Sake of the Light (University of Alaska Press, 2009)

Tom Sexton served as Alaska's poet laureate from 1994 until 2000. He is the author of fourteen books of poetry. Tom now spends every other winter in Eastport, Maine, with his wife of fifty years, Sharyn, and their Irish Terrier, Murphy.