Beverly Burch


Time to practice. Midwinter, your heart’s clock
slows down. Your eye won’t labor for small treasures,
ignoring the velvety depth of gray, fretwork
of branches against sky. It’s easy to open up in April,
young sun, one blooming thing after another
until you forget the casualties. And October’s feast,
showers of red on the street, gold on the table.
Now chilled bursts of air cuff your face
and you say January’s a brutalist. I say, a master class.
Out of the numbed-down life. I’m not brave,
just imagine wilder places, as if I might actually go.
Like the Arctic north, stripped of illusion.
It could undo the schooling to brush off extinction,
whether we survive this world.
No remorse, it kills with unbearable beauty.

Beverly Burch

is the author of three poetry collections. Her most recent, Latter Days of Eve, won the John Ciardi Poetry Prize. Other work has won the Lambda Poetry Prize and has been a finalist for the Audrey Lorde Award. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Denver Quarterly, New England Review, Willow Springs, Salamander, Tinderbox, Mudlark, Barrow Street, and Poetry Northwest.