January, Jack

— For Lorna

n your birthday I step out

before sunrise to view the lake, the same
as every morning since our final
Saturday. I succumb

to ritual as you did to pain, let it become
my keel, the core from which I measure
just what color life is now. In the bluing
air, reflected trees stand top sides down,

knobby trunks lined, bases-up, like brushes
hung to dry. On the quiet water surface,
its black plate flushed
with rose and lavender beneath

the sprawling dawn, they paint a picture limned
in memories and fog. I’ve passed
a summer of blown dandelions
and dead cicada shells; in autumn, leaves

fell to earth like broken hopes. Kindly-worded
watercolor cards stopped coming
about the time the dock’s ladder
began to gather rungs of snow. Today

I hear you through the grief: a veil
of gray geese rises toward the sky. Backlit
they scatter like ashes, their low,
recurring call persists

Get on, get on.

Its meaning seeps in by degrees
like the dawn, a solid promise kept
that day will come again. Finally it arrives,
a surprise—at once sudden and complete—

to bear its beating heart,
a golden hub of sun.

* * * * *

Christine Orchanian Adler is a writer and editor whose poetry has appeared in Coal: A Poetry Anthology, Penumbra, Tipton Poetry Journal, and online at Bird and Moon, Damselfly Press, The Furnace Review, LiteraryMama and elsewhere. She holds a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from Manhattanville College, and is a former editor of the literary journal, Inkwell. Her articles, essays and book reviews have appeared in various publications throughout the Northeastern United States and Canada. She blogs at  www.feedalltheanimals.blogspot.com, and lives in New York with her husband and two sons.


This week is being guest edited by Australian poet Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke.