by Kent Monroe
There are no fruits on the winterberries this December,
but the dogwoods seem dipped in blood.
I cut them precisely on the bias out of habit, like tea roses
for the yellow vase by the sunny kitchen window.
I am the priest of this sepia field,
blessing the world with my bundle of red branches
tied at both ends with green string and held out like a grail,
on my knees with my Peruvian cap and mismatched gloves,
on my knees on the frozen ground in the raspberry canes,
five days before the Mayan calendar ends.
I have delivered my benedictions, presented my offerings:
cut raisins for the bluebirds,
stale bread for my family of crows,
bruised apples for the deer that watch me from the woods.
I am the priest of this sepia field, the vicar of nests and graves,
petitioning whatever god shall listen.
We have all done our best. We have all endured for the light.
Now the thin, brittle days are upon us.
Behold the blood-red branches!
Behold the white sky, the blue star,
the dark line of the wall through the barren trees,
stone after stone after stone– over the hill to the end of the world.