The snow has turned to rain. The dog takes me
outside. (Let’s not pretend it’s otherwise.)
The night is miserable. Then suddenly
a sheet of luminescence lights the skies,
and in the moment between darknesses,
the jagged peaks and ridges, the onyx pools
gathered in bootprints, all the world there is
under the nose of dogs who drag their fools
from here to there, seems almost worth the trip.
Another flash without a thunderclap.
The leash goes taut. I lunge ahead to grip
a sapling glowing in its icy wrap,
as nearly liquid as a frozen stream.
A slap of blown sleet interrupts the dream.
Alfred Nicol’s most recent collection of poetry, Animal Psalms, was published in 2016 by Able Muse Press. He has published two other collections, Elegy for Everyone (2009) and Winter Light, which received the 2004 Richard Wilbur Award. His poems have appeared in Poetry, New England Review, Dark Horse, First Things, Commonweal, The Formalist, Hopkins Review, Measure and elsewhere. Nicol’s poem “Addendum” was included in the 2018 edition of The Best American Poetry.