Natalie Homer


The ash pile from the Holy Burn, 
salt-and-pepper, crowns the gravel 
of the church parking lot. The Christmas trees, 
Bibles, and palm leaves from Easter
have begun a second life as smoke and ash.

I think of January in terms of blue: 
icy aquamarine, cerulean, the blue that 
swirls over china plates, the tired, washed-out
blue of the winter sky.

In this season of after-light, the trash on the roadside 
is glaring, as are the corpses I drove past to get here, 
deer, foxes, and opossums.

The orange berries on the barren shrubs
have no business being there.

Hope is a labor like any other.

Natalie Homer

has recently contributed to Ruminate, Puerto del Sol, American Literary Review, Sou'wester, Four Way Review, and other journals. She received an MFA from West Virginia University and lives in southwestern Pennsylvania. Her first collection, Under the Broom Tree, is forthcoming from Autumn House Press.