Thursday, 23 September 2021

Four Poems by Donny Winter


Whispers in the Fog: A Tanka


The rain fell all night

and today, the garden seems lush again

beneath this dull dawn

as each saturated leaf 

is free of the raging sun.


With summer at rest,

chickadees gather their seeds


while the pollinators flit

to flowers and sip the dew.


Today, the mist clings

to treetops, and a fog rolls

across swollen soil,

whispers respite to these bones,

wears this iron back to stone.





This summer’s heat swelters more than ever before

until our spindle-stems harden to stave a desert-thirst.

As this globe heats, the trees grow heavy, dust-filled,

smoke-screened behind the fumes of a thousand flames far away.

Sometimes, everyone else blossoms first while we

peak our sprouts up through gravel beneath mailboxes, 

disguise ourselves along barren roadsides until the right time.

As the brutal summer tires, each morning becomes a new beginning

when dew condenses against our faces as breath.



Storms Over Mackinac


Thunderheads rise in the west

like mountain-titans drawing near,

preparing to go to war.


The straits are placid, inviting,

each ripple lapping at our feet

beckons us to stay a while longer.


Our phone flashlights burn like stars

against the twilight as camera shutters

snap an array of photos to capture this.


In the distance, the bridge stretches

like a dim-lit ribbon across the ashen sky,

a beacon warding away the oncoming storm.


As the freighters slice through the lake one last time

and the final island ferry docks, we take hold of this moment

and pay no heed to our ticking clocks. 



A Moment


Raindrops slink down stems until soil digests

nutrients, swelling into a saturated sod-sponge


while a robin sits high in a nearby ash tree,

singing in debate with the sky, “Let it rain”


and a young man types half-spelled novels

on his phone, listens to music behind a mobile prison


forgetting that the cages we build

become comfortable after a time,


after our bodies leave a skeletal imprint

in worn leather upholstery, outdated.


In our short time evolving, we’ve sacrificed

the abstract measurement of “moment”


for the hurried increment of time

as we pasteurize, sterilize, and cauterize


the world around us to fit our needs,

we, these avatars of industry.


Now, as raindrops slink into city-sewers

and pigeons excrete on our paved streets,


we exhaust ourselves with the chemicals

we’ve created, laboratory phantoms


devolving moments into increments,

shaping days into convenient puzzle-pieces


to quiet these unseen vacuous cycles

happening beyond and around these cityscapes


only to forget the encyclopedia of knowing

within each robin song, on each ponded leaf

Donny Winter is a LGBTQ+ poet, educator, and activist residing in 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). His forthcoming second collection of poems, Feats of Alchemy, will be released in October (2021). Winter is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Nominee and has poems in Sonder Midwest, Awakened Voices, and CultureCult. To read more of Winter’s work, visit his website: or subscribe to his poetry YouTube channel, DonnySpeaks.


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