Prosaic cold, the only attribute worth mentioning is its bitterness;
offish and tenacious, it bites into my feet, its fumes
nocent and burning, sear my nostrils. The bird are famished, and
deer prints line the path all the way to the pond, night’s topography.
Plummeting temperatures have given way to a little warming.
Omissible sparrows are making themselves obvious this morning,
netted on every branch, this crew is noisy and numberless; the
degrees moving up have moved them out and they are famished.
Pretended yesterday that spring was closer than it is,
overlay of sun on my tired, pale shoulders, overlay of warmth,
noticeable warmth through my shirt, first time in weeks, and the
disinherited ice is all water now, its tumbling voice effervescent and wild.
Primaveral search party, I come up empty, though the cool steady rain melts the
opacity of the overcast, and the ground and the stream, entirely thawed, are
nonchalant, as if winter were truly gone, as if bitter cold were not simply
decumbent, taking a break, waiting its next hostile, biting strike.
Parlous wind slams bare branches together, the clacking landscape roars
obtrusive, the frozen ground breaks beneath my footfalls, the air is filled with
nouns, tumbling adjectives, fiery verbs, jagged letters thrown violently into the
densest stand of stark trees, the only sound marshalled is the sound of wind gathering, erupting.
John L. Stanizzi is the author of 6 collections—Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, Hallelujah Time!, and High Tide–Ebb Tide.Published widely, he’s had poems in Prairie Schooner, American Life in Poetry, The New York Quarterly, Paterson Literary Review, The Cortland Review, Rattle, Tar River Poetry, and many others. He’s been translated into Italian and appeared in El Ghibli, in the Journal of Italian Translations Bonafinni, and Poetarium Silva. New work will be out this year in L’Ombra delle Parole. His translator is Angela D’Ambra. His new collection, CHANTS, will be out in 2018 with Cervena Barva Press. John has read and venues all over New England. A former New England Poet of the Year, John teaches literature at Manchester Community College in Manchester, CT, and lives with his wife, Carol, in Coventry.