The street is still in shadow
When I slip outside and take a deep breath.
No smell of snow in the early-winter air,
Just the promise of dawn’s silence as the sun,
A new-minted penny just out of the furnace,
Glows hot-bright on the graying horizon.
Nothing stirs. Possums and raccoons have cozied
Into their dens, and the mourning doves huddle
While their preened pinfeathers float mutely to the ground.
Carried on the wind, today’s freshness
Tingles in my nose. I will not yet rub
Night’s sleep from my heavy, languid eyes,
Unwilling to wake further or to squint at sunrise,
But just to stand in the half-shadows and
Breathe in the streaks of mauve and pink and
Marigold—dawn’s subtle clarity for this new day.
I know now that I was meant to love and lose,
To burn with passion that devours itself
Much like a fire swallowing
The air and flashing with delight
The serpent greedily gulping
Its own tail
The fox that chews off its foot,
Caught in a rusty iron trap.
Love so huge, so terrible, it
Not fading softly
Sand blown by the wind,
Or exploded fragments
Of the sparkling nova in a winter sky.
And there is no time for regret,
For doubt or hesitation:
A mote in my eye is rubbed out,
An itch in my nose is scratched,
Dry lips are briefly licked.
Everything is subject to the instant
And changes, is changed, will change
In the moment.
Such love is glimpsed
Then I wake.
About the Poet
Sandra Salinas Newton is a Filipina-American professor emeritus of English. Her published works include introductory texts, fiction, and arts reviews. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Apricity Magazine, Brushfire, Cerasus, Courtship of Winds, Decadent Review, Ekphrastic Review, ellipsis…literature & art, Etched Onyx. Evening Street Review, Exchanges, Fauxmoir, Hawaii Pacific Review, Hyacinth Review, Library Love Letter, Loch Raven Review, Midwest Quarterly, Multiplicity, Native Skin, Neologism Poetry Journal, New Note Poetry, Oberon Poetry Journal 2021, OPEN: Journal of Arts and Letters, The Poeming Pigeon, Poetic Sun, Ponder Review, Provenance, Slab, Vultures and Doves, The Woolf, Wrath-Bearing Tree, and many others.