Rosemary Winslow

At the O Street Park, January 27, 6 a.m.

A cold Sunday
    cold iron benches
        and abandoned chess tables
            cold shoulder me

I look up—a locust’s nude limbs
    reach over my head, flowing eastward
        like the pour of a woman’s hair

High above two gulls, their
    wings spread in white and ebony keys,
        glide in circles and 8s
            on a sequence of updrafts

They play like a pair of lovers on skates

All the space of the world is theirs

Sky’s a work of pearl
    this hour
        waiting for sun
I’m waiting for you
        waiting for you
            to be as you were

I don’t know how, in this hour
    where grief and hope commingle at the twin ends of night
Even when the still small leaf buds overhead on twig-ends say
Even as the sun comes full over the edge of the world

I don’t know how hope and grief commingle
        at the twin ends of night
            in this round world

    and they do, circling and diving over and over and under
        tumbling and turning, loose ends trailing
            they kiss the sky

Rosemary Winslow taught writing and literature at the Catholic University of America for 40 years. She has published dozens of articles in journals and encyclopedias on verse-making, prosody, and stylistics; on American poets; and on rhetoric and writing. She has won three Larry Neal Awards for Poetry, and grants from the D.C. Arts & Humanities Council and Vermont Studio Center. Her work has been published in numbers of journals and anthologies. Her most recent collection of poems is titled Defying Gravity. In 2020 a book of essays co-edited with Catherine Lee was published by Woodhall Press and titled Deep Beauty: Experiencing Wonder When the World Is on Fire. She and her husband, John Winslow, who is a visual artist, divide their time between Washington, D.C., and New Hampshire.



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