Illustration by Anne Le Guern


there are thousands of days left
tens of thousands if we’re lucky and dozens
of new pills to try merry christmas look at the light
crashing thru the blackout curtains the cars
slide by and the suburbs disappear prius by prius
there is a father chopping lettuce there
is a mother shoveling snow there is
frostbitten wildgrass starving in the valleys and there are cabins
filled with families and cabins empty except
for the cold there is a baker walking to her midnight shift
there is a mayor thanking donors there are dozens
of winter suns left and thousands of prisoners
writing letters reading letters there is a courthouse in the snow there
is a country everywhere and there are roads and towns and courthouses
and glowing wal-marts and power lines everywhere
and the notion of winter falls everywhere even in California it descends
even when we can’t see it it is like moonlight tonight
the snow looks like crushed pills and I don’t care
about trees or mayors or bakers or fathers I care about the snow —
how grim it is in the dark and how quiet in the light

Jackson Holbert

Jackson Holbert was born and raised in eastern Washington. His work has appeared in Poetry, FIELD, and The Nation. He received his MFA in poetry from the Michener Center for Writers and is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford.