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Maria Thérèse Williams

United Kingdom

I bask in the hug of my woolen blanket

And absorb the glow from the firelight

The crispness of the frost awakens my thoughts

And the warmth from the flames help them thaw

The trees, unclothed, seem to gather around

They feel no shame to be bare in front of me

They seem to breathe in the warmth of the flames

Whilst reserving judgement on my thoughts

The flames dance as if hypnotherapy

And the frost near their feet melts away

Sparks from the fire join the stars in the sky

And I bask in the beauty of the day.


Adrienne Stevenson

Ottawa, Canada

mercury hovers around freezing point

days grow shorter as the sun recedes

in undecided winter light

mist can’t make up its mind

to be snow or rain, frost or dew

chill wind whips, mist coalesces

snowflakes the size of locusts

blaze out of the streetlight

cloud around cars and trucks

like swarms of angry bees

alight softly like fireflies, sparkle

as they touch the frozen road

long, longer dark blue shadows stretch

across golden fields of snow

closer, dimples and pocks 

make tiny moguls for elfin skiers

delicate ice devils dance wildly 

on greying road surface—hell is cold indeed

human cocoons huddled in firelight

await a signal to release emergent souls

—it won't arrive for many months


Christian Ward

London, United Kingdom

When the sky turns

the colour of glowing coals,

the leaves are cover models

showing off shades of pomegranate,

beetroot, pumpkin and terracotta,

and everything is planning

on emerging as a spring postcard,

this is not the time to be a blank page.

Embrace the silence of frost,

the language of snow. Make every

wintery landscape your play.

Be the flame in the hearth. Let all

embrace the warmth as the light dims

and the days shrink and shrink and shrink.


Judy DeCroce

New York, United States

by the softer snow

stepping gently then more surely

moving shadows darken

pulsing in the wind

see how they walk bending

avoiding what may be hidden

and from the window we catch a stare

a pause

their eyes through the greyness

still, we don’t envy each other

it means very little

interrupting the wild


Neal Whitman

California, United States


tucked under a quilt
by firelight we take turns
reciting R. Frost


Carl “Papa” Palmer

Washington, United States

As the new day awaits its morning sun,

the blank page for my poem also waits.

In stillness I listen for an inner voice,

only to hear a deep silence in my soul.

Ends end from where beginnings begin,

but before I can end it I have to begin it.

All I need is that one elusive key word

to massage this pain of self-made hell,

this page containing only a promise of

what may be worthy to be called poetry.

As the sun sets, my page and I sit,

still waiting for what’s gone missing.


Stephen Barile

Fresno, California, United States


“A grizzly bear with bad teeth who rode a motorcycle.”

  ~Jon Veinberg

Well after dark, the sky was brighter

Against the shadows in the woods.


We stood around staring into the fire,

Drinking beer from aluminum cans


Dave kept cool in the creek nearby.

We took turns walking down there,


Retrieving a couple of cold ones.

Dave wanted to see if Chuck, the poet,


His friend from the Tower District

Was camping up here, near the road.


We walked in a mysterious night.

The mountain stars lit our path


In the Ponderosa and Cedar forest

Fixed and motionless in the dark.


We passed the first of flat ground,

A stand of trees, a water spigot,


And a Forest Service outhouse.

We walked downhill on the dirt road


Near the fringe of a meadow of sedges.

The second flat, and burnt-earth area


Where migrating Indigenous people

Had campfires over the centuries


Traversing the Sierra to trade.

Near the horse corral, and third flat,


In the dark background of trees,

A Promethean bonfire lit the blackness.

A holy fire, purifying and wrathful.

A pile of wood to feed the craving.


The silhouette of a European motorcycle,

Somebody was leaning against it.


As we got closer, Dave yelled out.

Chuck jumped up and acknowledged us.


His loud, low, and menacing gruff voice.

Great big, with a long bushy moustache,


Coke-bottle glasses mirrored the flames

While he drank whiskey from a metal cup.


His motorcycle reflected the flames

From the chrome exhaust-pipe.


Three of us stood before his campfire,

When he was the first to speak:


“Hell is full of fire,” he said,

As if he had firsthand familiarity.


“In Dante’s Inferno, Hell is icy cold,

Saved for the worst sinners.”


We declined several offers to share

The whiskey he called “hooch.”


And he told us firefighting stories,

Of great conflagration in the woods.


Heroic struggles to fight flames

With a chain-saw, shovel and Pulaski.


“Indigenous people used wildland fire,

Naturally caused or otherwise,


To encourage growth in oak trees,

To increase their food supply of acorns.”


Pops and snaps from burning snags

Were projectiles; red-hot smoking embers.


“Fire is the breath of life,” he said.

The smoke seemed to be following me.


“An expression of spiritual energy.

All things derive from and return to fire.


For the purification and destruction

Of evil forces.”


  He knew who he was.

Midnight, we headed back for Dave’s camp.


All of Chuck’s hooch was gone,

The wood pile diminished considerably.


Shooting stars were falling in the sky.

Starlight had grown brighter


Like the mother-of-pearl buttons

On the fringe of a Native woman’s gown


As she danced around the campfire,

Reflecting the firelight.

Mark Hudson

United States

On the day after my birthday,

the sky was cold and gray.

Cold enough for winter clothes,

but we haven’t yet had much snow.

I looked outside my window,

and noticed people below.

A scene like Norman Rockwell,

a vision so pleasant for me to tell.

On the ground as I looked down,

was a mother and child on the ground.

The child himself was rather young,

young enough to think it was fun.

The mother was showing him love,

by bending down and putting on gloves.

On tiny little hands, very small,

the mother bent down; she was tall.

She kneeled on the sidewalk,

to put on gloves and I would gawk.

Seeing this precious moment of living,

reminded me of upcoming Thanksgiving.

To me, this scene brought me joy,

this mother caring for this little boy.

Was I once like this kid before?

My mother is not on Earth no more.

I live on my own, perhaps it is best,

I’m too old to create a new nest.

But I’m in love with the human race,

everybody out there has a face.

Is it too late to stop all the hate?

Can love return to all who wait?

Now is the time to create a new fate.


Nadine Hitchiner


Morning begins unevenly:
love for love, fire by fire,

on which

my hands glass-blow

their Arctic bulb -

from where

I see Icarus’

chin. My indifference told

to one more cully:

once, my girlhood leaned in

on the train and asked:

“quicksilver, cadmium,

or gas?”—noon begins

much like

bees that bumble,

only when there is rain.

Only, that the rain’s hereditary

to itself and if not,

it is ekphrastic

to the flame.


Duane Anderson

La Vista, Nebraska, United States

Here I am, sitting in your family room,

just waiting my time to be useful again,

waiting for spring and summer to end

and for the colder days to arrive,

that time of the year when you 

open the doors to my mouth,

placing firewood on my teeth,

while opening my chimney flu,

for even though I enjoy a good smoke,

I don’t want to disrupt your enjoyment

as you sit inside, but at the same time, 

wanting to let the world know that I exist

as my smoke travels up my chimney

and outside for others to enjoy its fragrance.

My flame, a picture for your eyes as it flickers.

My flame, eager to keep you warm.

Keep me lit each evening

as I entertain you,

you and I, two good friends

enjoying our winter intimacy together.


Michael Ball

United States

God’s pumpkins, a plethora of poultry,

and my pet goose hailed from a farm

at Foxes Hollow. I named my goose

Gus, after Cinderella’s mouse friend.

Granddad figured rightly I’d like a goose.

His chums down to Foxes Hollow raised

cows and pigs and many feathered edibles

— hundreds of turkeys and ducks and

thousands of chickens, none of which

shut up and all of which left filth during

each walk and after every squawk.

But Gus was a charming, soft singleton.

Our in-town gardens were not adequate

for pumpkins overwatered for bragging

rights, not pies, gourds round as those

who frequent all-you-can-eat buffets.

The farmers found it fitting a friend’s

grandson should get a pet goose, as

their own sons had. We made a deal.

I’d feed and care for Gus all summer

then bring him to the farm in fall,

when I returned from my distant city.

Come Thanksgiving, I’d visit and play

with my fuzzy-become-feathery friend.

Gus was a Disney cartoon, following me,

the guy who talked to, fed and stroked him.

His endearing mannerism was tilting

his yellow head, honking once while

looking at me through the closest eye.

I last saw Gus, bobbling his too plump

body on splayed webbed feet, as fast

as he could go, chasing Granddad’s Ford.

He didn’t even come close to the bumper.

There was enough sense of betrayal

to go around for both boy and bird.

I was little-boy sad as he chased me,

but still eager to see full-grown Gus

come the next school vacation. Then,

with the last fields of dried corn stalks

standing, soon to be cut into silage, frost

and November arrived. Reunion too.

When Granddad called to plan a visit,

the farmer was surprised but chipper.

That old man noted cheerfully that

Gus (he recalled and used his name)

had provided the family a fine feast —

big enough for all but not yet tough.


Luisa Kay Reyes

In the very beginning The Good Lord said

Amidst the formless void, “Let there be light.”

And the light from the darkness was shed

Pleasing Almighty God with its sight.

Although His Good Word is a light to our path

The darkness for several held some sway

Who blithely ignored the tragic aftermath

Of keeping kind virtue always at bay.

Thus it appeared that the light was forever gone

With the warmth and the glow of a candle

Being the only hint of a Heavenly echelon

Faith could keep from the stealthy vandal.

But then a single star on Christmas night

Revealed to all that The Light of the World

As it shone brightly with all of its might

Had come to show The Truth was unfurled.

For The Light of Life as a baby was born

As Christ came to help us live in the light

With His Great Light the earth to adorn

Pledging, “Let there be light”, to hold upright.


Erin Ratigan

Texas, United States


A cramped house

filled with heat,

the guttural

growling exuberance

of children,

and at the window

the snow murmurs

“Come to greet me.”


Cathy Hollister

Tennessee, United States

when dawn fires the sky

blazing rays, pure and straight

shoot beyond water’s edge

to fill the ocean surface with

rippling ruby waves

then light seeks its own.

in the cold morn, 

it narrows its gaze,

finds its purpose as

it burns away the

frosty illusion of wealth,

claimed by privilege.

waves of trendy fashion and expensive shoes

trip on the shoals and chase

the endless, useless

cycles of “I want” that produce only

ragged shards of excess,

littering the lonely beach

sparkling baubles steer a futile course to

carry the burdens of opulence.

ensnared by glittering promises that

decay as all things must,

the foolish revel in possessions,

unaware of the inevitable tides,

currents in time that

join forces with the purifying dawn

revealing the artistry in the weathered driftwood,

the power in the rugged cliffs,

the beauty in drifting dunes,

the perfection in a

single grain of sand


Savannah Martinez


Crackling pines-

Bending from the white kiss of Winter

Show us how to survive, this chilling freeze

Mothers and daughters, Fathers and sons

Hold on tight to their scarves,

Dreaming of the hot cyder yet to come

The vibrant hustle and bustle of the city

  A mere landscape on oil canvas

  Streaked with a blur of color, dappled in white

Somehow finds a way to continue, like the beating heart of a dragon

In this wilding set back of nature


Yet what people don't know,

Amidst the window shopping and merrymaking of yore


Is that

I was the frost,

And you the firelight

  That ever glow in my heart


As I grew, from a sapling into a budding tree

I noticed that while others would shed their layers, coming of the seasons

I was left with a still, crystal pain

  The freezing of my own heart


I accepted, as most do, who learn how to adapt,

That life was not made for all; if anything, it was I nature was against


With every mistake I made, another blossom would whither, and every person I helped

  Another chip of my ice palace

  Would crumble away


The only explanation I found, was that I must be the cause-

  The very cause of Winter herself;


But as time carried on, a spark so brilliant flew from the nest

Leaving behind the fire so safe

-And seeking out its own story

A story of Fates to behold;


Years ahead now, and I've come to see

That Winter is not just a curse

But the gentle stand still, until nature comes back to life


And although cold winds will always try to snare us, breaking down our hope

Till one by one we freeze

  A chill so deep, forcing us to forget the glory of the sun


I will stand through it, unafraid

Knowing that with just a simple gesture of your hand

Upon my own, I shall feel the warmth once again

  A love so magnificent-

  And know I'm not alone


Something so delicate, like these dreams we share;

My heart beats, with each carol in the air

And as the yuletide creeps upon us near,

I'll cherish every moment with you

In this frosty wonderland, my love

  My dear


D.R. James

Saugatuck, MI, United States


It should’ve taken only that scouting,

squawking jay to get the word out.

Framed in a pane, on a perch,

he was posed, a post card, puffed

against the frosty cold. His stylish

scarf feathers flicked an impatient face,

and his scruffy topknot signaled

who knew who in the neighborhood:

“Easy Supreme and SunflowerMélange

swinging free off this deck!” See, he’d need

some wirier guys to stir it up, to urge

the tiny silo to flowing so he could

swoop in, scoop out the run-off: “Anyone game enough to give it a go?” But, no.

And now, not a single soul for supper.


Shampa Saha 


The night was a shivering one

Put out, were all lanterns!

Only an aged beggar,

With his torn rag,

Walking along the frozen road,

To search for a shelter!

A piece of bread without butter,

Might be his only longing!

That's why he was begging!


The frosty night stretched her vail

To avail all the warmth,

From the earth,

To gift the death like cold!

But the old promised his little grand daughter,

To bring laughter

As a bread to her hunger!


No light, no warmth,

With all his lost strength,

The old soul was walking alone!

No moon was there,

No firelight,

No hope was there,

And no more fight!


Only a piece of food and warmth,

The man and his little one's search,

Was yet to be filled,

Before he be killed

In the frosty night,

With chilled bite!

Please bring him some spring!

Can someone bring them to that brim?


for Dusan

Kate Potter

To think this season might come at me sideways

beguiling my heart with an autumn untouched

by ice

to think that winter might actually warm some

part of me, notwithstanding daunting drifts

of blowing white

I’m trying not to make this sound like a love poem

and you are making it hard. You have slipped

between the lines

already, and have started a fire. Suddenly I’m mad about

February, crazy for comforters and flannel sheets


and steaming tea, hats and gloves and breath we see

I won’t even mind if March goes out 

like a lion

as long as I can

lie in

with you.


Karuna Mistry

United Kingdom


Once the clock is in, the cold goes out

Once the cold goes out, the weather turns in

Once the weather turns in, the seasons churn out

Once the seasons churn out, ageing begins

Once ageing begins, life snuffs out

Once life snuffs out, the shovels dig in

Once the shovels dig in, the clock times out

  …the cold enters, the weather turns,

  and the seasons yearn for a life thereafter


 for Mark

Cora McCann Liderbach

West River Road snakes upward

  through a soundless panorama

  of white—maples, evergreens

  silhouetted against a cream and

pewter sky. Thick powder frosts

  rooftops—fondant on a wedding

  cake. Lights glimmer like candles

  atop porch, fence, lamppost. We

crunch uphill, boots sturdy,

  hands double-gloved, glasses

  fogged—chatting, chuckling,

  weighing the week, wordlessly

huffing, sinking into stillness—

  my favorite hour of these winter days

  with you.


Gail Grycel

United States


It was as if the Fall leaves hadn’t had time

to parade themselves around New England.

The usual flamboyancy faltered and fizzled

under the affliction of some silent foreboding.

They nosedived. Perhaps with fragile glances

across their veins, they cast themselves

through cavalier warm breezes

into November, then December.

But the cold bite came in time for the light’s

return. Time’s edge chilled with frostbite.

Every naked branch lowered

under the cutting freeze

spitting snow, ice, sleet.

Like the leaves,

once the dark pushed past its mark,

in rushed the glow—

hibernating daydreams

softening the crust,

slowly breaking free.

Even snow is too timid to assert itself

into the year end’s shiver,

and the nostalgia of warmer winters past

haunts like a Dicken’s ghoul—

who am I?

gasping for the burning coal’s flicker

through the woodstove’s glass front,

heaving against the bitter frost

of what needs to cycle,




Morgan Neering


There’s a hush that has fallen

over the city, coating it in white

the frost has gathered

on my windowsill

the earth seems frozen, frosty

frigid and cold.

I haven’t seen the sun in days

and everything I love is dead

or dying

like the trees that line the way home

and there are Christmas lights

left up

overstaying their welcome

And the city’s too cold


all my friends are home

with the lights off

but this is a good world

I hope

that if there is a God

he has not forgotten us

at nightfall,

this late January.


Buffy Aakaash

East Calais, Vermont, United States

When winter springs through equinox we gather 

by the fire, spewing out lyrics and memories,

irreverence for the status quo squabbling over spoils.

I revel in the cold that brings me to this burning.

I awake to fewer roosters and remember last night’s dinner, 

a frenzy beside the kitchen with killings in cold blood,

knives flashing, carcasses flying, comforts of grilling flesh,

hovering by my nose and challenging my inclinations.

That night I wrap my cold hand around sleek silky teats,

my other at rest atop her arched back while she ruminates,

rolling thumbs against fingers expressing sweet elixir

swallowed in whirls and whirs against the milking pail.

By day I gather goat muck to feed our leafy greens,

the pastoral vanguard fresh from walking herds around me, 

curious inquisitors probing the theft of their inner workings,

while circling above dandy hawks in love with love reply.

Cycling into spring chickweed blankets urban onslaughts,

folks like flowers frozen by city streets and concrete sidewalks.

From garden green warmth and medicine, things we planted,

make pilgrimage to all our bellies, the oceans of our bodies.

When equinox lurches toward summer we gather in the woods

axe in hand, spirit calling our every swing to rouse a new king

from the decay of dying time, as the aging monarch draped 

in tatters of finery is deposed in the flames of April’s final fire.

I revel in the cold that brings me to this burning.


David Olsen

Kidlington, United Kingdom

Mother cast an artist’s critical eye

at each silver fir, viewing from all angles,

assessing symmetry and shape.

At home, she wound strings of lights

round the tree, replaced burnt-out bulbs,

stood back to scan for balance,

precisely placed each strand of tinsel.

For gifts, in those lean years, she sewed

shirts from fabric remnants – bolt ends –

from Capwell’s bargain basement.

While taking down the tree in January,

she smoothed every strand of tinsel,

laid them all in tissue for next year.


Lynn White

North Wales, United Kingdom

Look out there now to see

the shape of them falling

before they melt away,

the angles and shadows,

of their singular perfection,

while their shape remains.

Don’t wait too long.

They make a brief visit only

before they’ll be frozen in time.

And then even the solid will melt away.

And drip into a memory.


Theresa M. Lapensée


Without alcohol, 11:30pm in late December hits different

The noise I used to climb into and thought I was gliding through

Is what it is


How many drinks and how much sex and how many boys and how much shopping or travel or money or cheating until the feelings I don’t want to carry simply up and vanish? 


There is a light layer of snow on the ground, and I can see tiny, individual snowflakes falling by the streetlight


Sitting in my car

Spying my glasses clad reflection

It’s quiet and cold

The kind of cold I used to crave when sleeping off the day after the night before

The kind of cold that makes jeans sting against thighs

Walking in somewhere warm for the night


I wonder if I love the summer heat so much because I was born in this month that is so long and cold?

Who wants to hit the world when the cold is rushing in?


Some nights you just want to listen to 90s music, realistically reminisce about high school

say a silent hallelujah that you can now look in the mirror and breathe

no more reaching to change the girl looking back


Heidi Gilles

United States



final act -

the evening air


into the chill

of the early

morning -

with the birds

still singing,

the leaves

and branches,



for what is

to come -

and, like a shield

of protection,

from the winter

days ahead -

the limbs


in the bright

of the




John Muro

Three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize as well as the Best of the Net Award

Guilford, Connecticut, United States

Curious how the early winter light distorted

the stained-glass windows; how green-blue

panes assumed a liquid look

and the pilasters that I mistook

as something more than ornament –

lending the chapel’s support

to heavenly hosts come to look

after us. Their mystical descent

would, on winter days, offer comfort,

often wondering what words they spoke –

faint praise or hushed admonishments –

while holding gilded clarions and an ornate book.

In time, discerned they had come to apportion

justice. Consoling the many, saving few.



Antoni Ooto

New York, United States

When clouds and sky almost forget their place,

shifting shadows cross the snow.

Solstice without anchor surrounds

the glow of a frosty sugar-moon…

whetting the appetite

of a child lying on a sled staring up,

as time opens.


Megan Jagt

Minnesota, United States

You tell me you hate winter because it’s so freezing cold

But I think you’re just scared of being found all alone

While people hide in their cozy, warm abodes

Trading sunlight for fires encased in wood and stones

And this is the time of the hard found introvert

Finding comfort in silence and old worn-out sweatshirts

Curled by the window during winter weather alerts

And staying inside, away from the those who would hurt

And society gathers in these small lit pockets

That we make from our homes, and choose the world to omit

Building a sheltered community of our people, well-knit

While the wind blows at the door, turning voices to critics

But the lone wolf stays safe, curled up in their den

As the winter brings snowstorms and blizzards and then

All of the people go home just to hide

And we introverts are found, already sheltered inside


Patrizia Fanucchi


Snow cold ice

a walk

I tried to talk

a wall

of ice

glittering folds of snow

a wonderland!

dull eyes

warmth and joy died.  People – at the top of the hill.

      the toboggan, the fear, the daring

  excitement – thrill flying down

  down the hill – a friend, chatter



the girls, the fun

I was not part of. The ice

the isolation

the betrayal of what was special

the pain.  The toboggan whizzing past

  he and the others, the laughter

the cold


at the top of the hill.

Pride  swallowed

we left together  the



  tears, talk


Will it ever be the same again?


Russell E. Willis

Vermont, United States


Parched wind swirls

Moonlight in a million fragments

Carpets frozen glade

Smoke flees chimney

Shepherding impossible fireflies

To the stars

Cedar felt in the mask

Shielded by a mask

Cinnamon and

Hints of mince

Meet in the senses

Numbed extremities

Insulated core

Muted awareness

Of sharp reality

Life and

Risk to life

Shared as


Fierce darkness and

Cold light lay siege to

Framed tableaus of warmth

Cradling surviving life

As the shepherd

Cradles a lamb

Plucked from the wilderness

Bitter cold and candlelight

Buttress the frosted panes

Bearing brittle peace

For Father Lopez

Keith Melton

United States


In window glass

The aching of my gloom in pieces --

Again I hear the voices.

Ego, I surrender; stillness, I recant


Hallows my skin and exults in the scatter

And the Muse of God is re-painting

The sorrowful rooms

Of my heart with hues of ochre and bronze.


A legacy from tattered flesh

My stowaway soul


In this leaven of faith, its gram weight


And gathered

Its dappled light a splinter of husking gold.

The whirl of death

Defeated, its firelight brimming, remembering


With a radiant gleam.

The shape of being, promised, transparent


A whisper that guides all mystery, home.


Lakshman Bulusu

New Jersey, Untied States

sun’s abundant freedom of gold threads

moon’s matchless shine of silver

child’s curiosity about seeing his reflection in water's surface

a dancer’s elegant steps in grace

Mother nature's indulgence in making our earth's fertility

generosity of a benevolent heart

the warmth of a firelight in from a frost

threads binding friendship unto persistence

desire of beloved’s embrace

be it frost & firelight or any other, there’s pairing that’s immaculate


Bridget Houlihan

Pennsylvania, United States


Out my window the snowflakes dance.

From my tower I watch them fleet,


fly -

on the frosty back of the Western Wind.

Their mistress is fickle and cold, not caring where they blow.


wonderful, unchecked, to the ground below.

In Memory of Alastair Sims
Vern Fein

Illinois, United States

In A Christmas Carol, Dickens described the holidays as “a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of other people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.
Did you ever wonder what Scrooge did after he converted?
Invited God right into his heart and turned it around.


And some fancy ghosts scared him into Christmas.
Indeed, he really knew how to do Christmas well.

Raised Bob Cratchit’s salary yearly. Hot coals and punch all winter. 
Uncle Scrooge blessed Tiny Tim by paying for his schooling.


Found a high-level apprenticeship for Peter and attended Martha’s wedding.

Drank tea and befriended dear Mrs. Cratchit.

Located the “marvelous, wonderful” boy and apprenticed him as a butcher. 
Gold crowns for Mrs. Dilber, Christmas presents for her kids. 

Sent Fred’s Sally to seamstress school. Loaned Fred money to build his business.
Visited Old Joe. Helped him remodel and hire the charlady.

Waltzed every Christmas till he couldn’t, then sat on the couch and clapped. 
Ate Christmas dinner with “his sister’s boy” every year, fat turkey and all.

Railed against Poor Workhouses and wretched prison conditions. 
Poured money into Ignorance and Want all his days. 

Placed a tombstone above the Fezziwigs:
They danced life the best of all.


Sought out Alice and made peace with her.
Met her every need and were friends to the end.

Why could Old Scrooge, who always got more bread
for everyone from then on, do all of this for humanity?

Because he had money ‘till he died.

May we privileged do as well.


Kait Quinn

United States

Death was a glacial touch, knob of ginger

lodged like a thumb in my cavern throat.

All the tender sweetness—syruped

cherries, grilled peaches, sugared plums

—could not bite the bitter, cool the burn.

Death by fire, and still this skin bruises

like asters blooming through October

blizzard. Ten years, and still my bones

rattle frigid; irises woodsmoke in a steel

gray sky.

Is this vulnerable enough? Are these holes

from which these words bleed exposed

just enough? God, I am bored of writing

this heartache I've let encase me for nearly

two decades. Let it burst

into snowflakes to bury old tracks, brown blood,

any proof your palms ever singed the strawberry

milk backs of my thighs. I am engraved,

like Sylvia's reeds, in ice. I am beneath

that water, tracks of December white, thick

lake eyes I mean to crack, and I will not pull

you under but release you from my pupil, squeeze

saltwater pools from your lungs. I will toss you

to the sun, return your blue buffeted skin to

its firm apricot flush. You will be grateful to be free

of January's grip, to find fertile mirth beneath

spring's thaw. But July will slap your cheek

like a campfire, and you will beg for December's

contusions. You will think of me when the willow

bends emerald, marcescent under winter's descent.


Kathy Jo Bryant

United States

Flickering firelight, dances with shadows,

Mugs of soup, send steam in curls,

Scattered frost, decorates the window panes

Snow will pile, in windswept, whirls.

Nippy breezes, make you shiver,

Comforters on beds, are stacked,

You can see your breath, in clouds, form,

Forest creatures, in snow, are tracked.

Winter treasures, all around you,

Take you to a magic, realm,

Like a storybook for children,

'Twill amaze you, and overwhelm! 


Laurie Kuntz


You are inside now,

a blizzard of loneliness

whispers through the keyhole.

Sadness locks in like the sleeping

cat on a windowsill.

You can’t remember where you were

When that door slammed

the heart out of you.

Inside and out,

it is the same cold front,

the door cannot close against—

but there comes a knocking,

there always comes a knocking,

that is why we have doors: inside, out, slam

There comes a knocking—


Open up.


Claudia Wysocky

United States

Silence fills the air,

as I sit, alone,

among endless rows of graves.

I wish for heartbeats,

for laughter,

for tears.

I miss the noise.

But I know that I can't have it.

I can hear the footsteps of the living,

but there's no sound for me.

Silence surrounds me,

as I lay in my own void,

a void of life,

eternal and silent.

I will never know happiness again.

But I accept it,

lying here, alone,

among endless rows of graves.

It was fun being dead for a while,

to feel the quiet

and the peace.

I thought hell would have fire and brimstone,

but I guess that's only what they tell us.

I'm moving on now,

accepting my reality.

And I know that one day,

I'll find my meaning,

In the cold abyss.

But for now, all I have is silence,

a silence that never ends.

And I bet there's fire in heaven.


Patricia Hemminger

One tends to forget how large

the room seemed. How cold in winter.

How intricate the iced glass panes.

How the flames rose and fell

like dancers in the grate.

One tends to forget how birdsong

broke the dawn. How sunrise

streaked like blood across the sky.

One tends to forget how brittle

branches etched the road,

leading back beyond memory.

How did your hair become so grey,

so long, when they carried you

from the house in your white nightgown?


Alwyn Gornall

United Kingdom

The crunch of my step 


as I push through the ice capped snow,
wandering through the winter of our love;
searching for the path where your footsteps show.

Winter’s blanket of hoar frost 


our love in the morning light.
I touch it, trying to feel the warmth of you;
searching for a sign of you, however slight.

Spring’s heart-beat echoes with love’s promise;


sings your voice in the trees.
I see your face in the crowds;
searching for the sound of you, carried on the breeze.

I yearn for summer’s warming flame,


it will thaw your love,
and you will come back to me;
still searching; needing the burning of your love.


Miranda von Salis

United States

Winter arrived overnight:

a sudden snow on tiptoe.

The winds working their way through the valley;

Whistling at windows

and we woke to the fanfare of your arrival -

to the world amended.

Our tires crunched down plow-forgotten hills,

across streams muted under ice. 

The plow, for now, furrows along the main road, 

leaving levees as if to help it hold its banks. 

We cross that black river,  

silent too but for the grit of salt. 

The darkness swells,

but along the road are houses with candles in each window, 

sentinels at attention, following us with their flickering eyes. 

We can see town ahead, the lights of Christmas still bright

as though they were the torches of Hecate herself

guiding through life’s crossroads. 


Lindsey Lamar

Texas, United States


Caught in the reflection of the shadowed mirror,

My eyes reflect the darker game of chance.


My finger pulls down the screen for another go,

Because it only cost a cent. And what's a cent to me?

The spare piece of my brain slips into the boxes like a soldier,

Maneuvering edited realities that exist so effortlessly inside this 

Glass cage that we're in. Padlocked by a combination,

That I already know. 

One that would release me from the labyrinth

But I'm too close to finding the trophy.

So, my eyes skip in waiting,

For the numbers that control my fate.

This bit of me

That I've given to the game,

Dances in digital frames

In ways that I never could.

In cyan illumination,

I see an avatar that looks

Like everything I could 

Morph into.

Only If I earn it,

Only if I keep playing.

My focus darts to follow my reflection across the scoreboard.

Will this new piece of me

That I gave to the world

Win the game?


Will people watch me?

Will they like me enough to

Applaud with two taps on the glass window

When I win the game?

My thumbs pull again.


I place another fraction of myself into the machine.

This is not a problem because,

I know when to stop.

Nobody has ever won.

But I will be the first.

My life disappears in the block of blue light,

through several turns of the clock.

My memory hazed to the math,

I don't know how much I've spent.

Was I hypnotized for just a minute

Or was it a year?

It was only a penny for my thoughts.

But that might be too expensive now,

For I have none left of my own.


Il Neuva

Our story starts in novelty

The glove you salvaged in a pile of snow

Days blur into months and years

It stays in your pockets

Warm enough for the veins to waltz in your chest

Cauld enough to make the memory a mirage,


  How can you see if you cover your eyes?


November breeze sinks its icy fang

Sweet nocturnes melt in my tongue

I drink the flute for two, it warms my throat,

I sip what you sip, the mellow tunes transcend,


  And the night begins again.


Amber starbursts flicker in your eyes

Firecrackers in the woods

Two motorbikes sit abreast,

Beetle’s wings, so lithe and paper-thin,

  Buzz overhead, lost in a perpetual spin.


Hand on your shoulder, your breaths fanning mine,

A ship anchored to its berth,

Foot by foot, we make a beeline,

And breathe in the vesper’s mirth.




How do you name a feeling?

What is a question if the answer is here?


C.L Barley

United Kingdom


Deep in a forest, between the crisp trees

There exists a lagoon, frozen and serene,

All iced and glacial, with no hint of green.

Winter arrived, all the critters had gone,

Unknown and hidden to all except one.


The girl is an ice skater, world-renowned,

A simple girl, with a simple desire

To enthrall the world with her inner fire.

All those who witness are caught in a trance–

Famed for her beauty and fiery ice dance.


Heat radiates from the blades of her skates

Causing depressions where the ice has shed

Her pale skin ignites a crimson-red

Her hair, a whirlwind fury, flames disguised

Passionate, and blazing–fire humanized.


Day after day, out there you will find her.

On the ice, soul burning–fiery, aglow,

Her body lies in the waters below.

Restlessly twirling–Around, and Around

Grinning and spinning above where she drowned.


In time the seasons began to turn hot–

The ice melted in that very same spot.

Her body still lay–untouched by rot.

Her unblemished skin–still slender and white

Flaming, auburn hair, glistening with light.


Yet still, she skates–that well-known routine,

With burning passion, a beautiful scene.

But now she dances, no longer alone

When the snow begins to fall on the groves,

People worldwide all gather in droves.


As no one could think of an honor greater,

Than dancing in the resting place of

the fiery figure skater.


Kassie J Runyan

New York, New York, United States


in the silence of the frosty night

where flakes descend like whispers

a solitary fire asserts its grace

against the muted landscape

flames flicker in a dance

silent rebellion against the frozen tableau

a paradoxical warmth defying the cold’s grip


a fire in the storm, a cross of elements

burning amidst the stillness, a non-rhyming testament

a melding dance, unburdened by rules

a narrative unfolding in the quiet, unspoken fools


outside a world enshrouded in tranquil white

inside, the fire’s glow projects shadowed stories

an intimate dialogue between heat and cold

a story with elements endurance, unadorned


a fire in the storm, a cross of elements

burning amidst the stillness, a non-rhyming testament

a melding dance, unburdened by rules

a narrative unfolding in the quiet, unspoken fools


let the fire persist, as the flakes float down

a union of frozen warmth, defiance without end

the heart of the winter’s tale, a lesson is earned

the strength of the fire in, in the silence, discerned.


a fire in the storm, a cross of elements

burning amidst the stillness, a non-rhyming testament

a melding dance, unburdened by rules

a narrative unfolding in the quiet, unspoken fools

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