A Journal of Poetry and Kindred Prose

Marilyn L. Taylor,

former Poet Laureate of the state of Wisconsin (2009 and 2010) and the city of Milwaukee (2004 and 2005), is the author of six collections of poetry.

Her award-winning poems and essays have appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Poetry, The American Scholar, Able Muse, Measure, and Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” column.

She is a Contributing Editor for The Writer magazine, where her articles on craft appear bi-monthly.

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Can’t Keep Warm Anyway

So maybe I’ll just live outside next winter.
Feel my way along the roots of a tall
jackpine, find a soft spot on the splintered
mold-stained tarpaulin of fall.

I’ll rearrange those few pathetic seeds
still wrinkling side by side in blackened pods,
then listen to the skeletons of weeds
clacking their indignation to the gods.

I’ll figure out what happened to the primrose
that’s neither prim nor rose these days, but dried
and splitting, leaking seeds on purpose
so wind and birds can take them for a ride.

I’ll note the way the coneflowers have found
a whole new way to bloom: using their heads
for trapping flakes before they hit the ground
and wearing them like nightcaps in their beds.

You’ll find me with my coat around my torso,
contemplating sparrows—dull, brown
and shivering like me, but even more so—
until the puny little sun goes down.