It’s never the same way twice. Not this water
Running over stones to feed the river
In the valley, not this rain that punctures the sky
Like a stutter. Today, the sun rose brilliant gold
And the neighbors said it was finally spring,
But not like last year’s spring--
The snowfall melting heavily from the mountains
In gray torrents, the blue mist veined with white
Like splintered bone, the long drives home, a symphony
Of wheels in slush, eyes squinting
In the shadowed light to see the road.
Here, the water is a softer mirror.
The river pours its heart into its work, water as delicate as skin.
I won’t be delicate like that again. But I will work.
It will never be that same pain. I will be loved, or I won’t,
But change is certain. The river ensures this,
The way it runs,
Carrying bracken and leaves down, down,
Into the valley.
Into the valley, away.
A Prayer for Winter
To be very still here, morning still--
New and quiet in my heart, as dawn
Illuminates the world with gray eyes,
To be as alone as when asleep,
And yet to take this in, to receive
All the day’s offerings.
The austere views from the windows
Will be portraits—the cathedral woods
Of poplar, oak, maple, hackberry
Rising with full bare spires like hymns
Above the broken, mudden fields. Sound
Blurring in the light of summer, holds fast,
Deep like the welling of clear water
In a flower’s cup, drop by small drop,
Every bird, every branch a poem.
The deep patches of unmown grass speak of it,
As does the counter’s sticky rings of coffee,
Only seen at a lighted slant, shining bronze.
These moments of absence, flown off into spheres
More present than the bright world around, a dream
Arrested by the carelessness of hand,
Or a spill taken on the porch while transfixed
By the iridescent hummingbird feeder,
Hovering like the creatures it attracts,
Rich with opal light, lustrous as thin wings
Shuttering in the eye of afternoon.
Failing to notice steps, only colors
Of things, small shinings, glimmerings, possible
Communication with spirits in objects,
In birds. It’s strange, this extreme attention,
This thoughtlessness in writing poetry.
Meghan Sterling is a poet, writer and writing teacher living in Asheville, North Carolina with her husband and cat. She says, “My work tends to focus on ambivalence—the only way I have learned to deal with it is to write my way through.” Sterling’s work has been featured or is forthcoming in WNC-Woman, the Yellow Chair Review, Allegro Poetry Magazine, Cladesong, Clementine Poetry Journal, the Chronogram, Stone River Review, and Freshwater.