Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Five Poems by Donny Winter


 


Mabon Mists

 

The last string of summer thunderstorms

arced through the high-hill forests tonight

and their winds, left behind, howl in

chaotic exhales of exhaustion sweeping

clouds in a hurried pace from west to east.

The orchard’s forgotten apples dance

heavily upon their limbs as they ripen

too far, until their sweetness mulls

naturally into a musk that tickles 

every olfactory fiber with a sense

of unexplained nostalgia.

Tonight, the aching trees hum

a consoling lullaby as the steam

from a cup of cinnamon tea 

rises like a plume of incense softly

fogging glasses, and for 

a moment, the rain-wet breath 

from an open window reinvigorates

our remains, reminds us we’ve

not ripened too far past our prime.

 

 

Post-Industrial Entmoot

 

Children soon forget

the promises they make trees

as they grow depressed

after every metal dose

of manufactured adulthood.

 

The leaves remember,

still grieve our hushed addiction,

always keep record 

of the way we braze ourselves

into productive machines. 

 

Somewhere far away,

roots heave themselves toward grass

in a fit of grief

because they want to free us

from our self-inflicted wounds.

 

When the moon rises,

they move toward the woodland dell

speak in slow mumbles

to solve this deliberate hell

before the world crumbles.

 

 

Tightrope

 

I’ve lived here far too long,

sliding these bare feet carefully

across the line [in a void that spins invisibly]

 

My arms are numb, no longer heavy

in this balance, sometimes I pretend

they’re bird wings [I forget I’m still alive]

 

I no longer dwell on how deep 

the chasm is beneath, nor do I 

wonder when this tightrope ends [somewhere ahead]

 

I’ve held my breath too long

because a monster stirs below

waiting for me to fall [it’d be easy to let go but]

 

no, I feel the warmth 

of a distant flicker; press on ahead 

to keep this monster unfed [I have to keep this pace]

 

 

Aubade at Moonset

 

I bend with each goldenrod stalk

as the weight of dew breaks us

with each final breath this night draws.

Gravel cracks beneath my soles,

as I venture down an overgrown

path left by a storm I still see

through 6-year-old eyes.

A distant glow still fills the western sky

as both the moon and I tire

of this predestined spin, as we 

outgrow these crafted orbits.

Sometimes, it feels good to get lost,

to let go of the horizons we cling to

because no shadow shields us

from the way the morning will burn.

 

 

Mordor Heights

I told my locker mate, “Take my extra space.”

Coatless hooks and bookless shelves told stories

I was too afraid to tell.

Heavy book-bag abrasions were battle-scars;

I carried everything I owned through hallways and

I knew I took up too much space.

 

Every morning at 7:30, I was Frodo Baggins—

dodging arrows, tiptoeing through forests of upperclassmen.

I usually found hidden routes around the football players,

but no Dwarf-made mithril shirts protected me

when they’d say, “You’re so gay”—

it’d sting like a sharpened blade.

 

I mined what confidence I had and gave it to teachers—

they’d let me stay, hide in classroom caves or lab glades.

Trolls paced on marble roads, glared in at me.

This hobbit never made it to Mordor, never saved the day

because there was too much “gay,” never enough brave.

 



Donny Winter is a LGBTQ+ poet, educator, and activist from Saginaw, Michigan. He currently teaches Creative Writing at Delta College and his first full-length collection of poems, Carbon Footprint, was recently released by Alien Buddha Press (2020). Winter is a Pushcart Prize Nominee and has poems in Sonder Midwest, Awakened Voices, and CultureCult.




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