December 2017

The Shortest Day of the Year

       by Wendy Mnookin


Our doors blocked by a blizzard

the two of us climbed from a window

into a world made new—


mailboxes buried, signs disappeared.

We walked on the tops of bushes, 

dug until we found our car.


And dug some more.

We cleared the hood,

unburdened the windshield,


tunneled all the way to the tires.

Then what?

The roads were closed,


there was nowhere to go.

Sweating inside our layers,

we let ourselves fall


back into drift.

We had no ambition.

For minutes, or a year,


it was enough to lie there,

stunned with sun, with implacable white.

Our eyes glazed.


The frost of our breath happened.

And then we stood, clapping

our jackets free of snow,


suddenly shy

to see the imprint of wings,

so slight, it’s a wonder


we trusted ourselves at all.


From The Moon Makes Its Own Plea, BOA Editions, 2008


Wendy Mnookin’s most recent book is Dinner with Emerson (Tiger Bark Press, 2016.) The recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Writing, Wendy has taught poetry at Emerson College and Boston College. You can find out more about her writing at