Winter brings a certain stillness, an invitation to reflect, one of nature’s annual gifts. Here’s a personal, yet vast piece by Pete Mackey. We’re so pleased to have named it our First-Prize winner. Enjoy!
Winter refuses the questions of night—
no crickets click, no throbbing toads,
no birdsongs amending the meaning
of a moon and scabrous clouds
trading places, and no imagination
snared or bled into seeing
in the clamor creatures it cannot.
I am alone with both feet in the drift
feasting on thoughts taking me places,
back through the colors and cool of fall,
back through summer thorough in sweat,
to the dandelion roar ascending
in yellow over the green grass.
The butterfly jerked by invisible strings.
I am buried in the reach of the chill
this hour leavens to every edge
and the singularity of breath revealed
caught and quitting with it.
The meaning of one dependent
on the other and with it my tongue
starving for a shape to push back.
Pete Mackey’s poetry has been published in such places as Connotation Press, Cumberland River Review, New Verse News, and Innisfree and as a finalist in contests by Sweet, Third Wednesday, and others. He runs a communications company that serves colleges and other non-profits across the U.S.