Winter for a Moment Takes the Mind
{An Umbrella Special Feature}

Diane Kendig,

a poet, writer, and translator, is author of three chapbooks, most recently Greatest Hits, 1978-2000 (Pudding House).

Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared recently in the journals Colere, Ekphrasis, Minnesota ReviewU.S. 1 and Slant, among others, as well as the anthologies Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn and Those Winter Sundays: Female Academics and their Working-Class Parents.

A recipient of two Ohio Arts Council Fellowships in Poetry, a Fulbright lectureship in translation, and a Yaddo Fellowship, she currently lives in Lynn, Massachusetts. Visit her website.

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I write bitter love lyrics to a folk tune
called “frosty morning” and you hate them

When you say these lyrics are too chilling,
that no one would choose to be so cold,
I would have you think of the welder
who sweated all summer and loved a woman
who left him in August. Finally it is November.
He can forget all that heat. At dawn
he walks out to embrace the freeze.
He passes your house, and, not seeing anyone
because the frost blocks the pane,
he begins to sing this song.


Leaving Home during Hoarfrost

Absent, but keeping up a front, the way
solitude keeps ghosts around.
An unprinted negative.
Whole woods left out of the picture,
each tree’s whiteness needling its space
so precisely, so definitely
not there.
If everyone I loved disappeared,
the world would look like this.


Early December Morning Songs

I wake and wonder what high Morse:
the reostat at our heads
or a siren in the dream you’re dreaming now?
High and insistent tap dance
I can’t follow,
attractive syncopate, iffy
as your breath that hovers and sweeps,
the only sound I’m certain of.
That and the silence
of the flurries beginning at the window,
the soft chip of the fox sparrow
who has stayed too long into fall.