Winter’s no season to vouchsafe hearts

but these two made do with even exchange,


bone-white for bone-white and quiet now

as a forest through which some unfamiliar beast


has lately passed. Underfoot, they lie here,

one atop the other as, breathless in life,


they may happily have traded places

against the tousled sheets—slack-jawed


and joyfully astride—windows ajar

in equal measure to spring’s fecund chorus


or autumn’s flaming elegy. Winter for now or

forever: no matter to these lovers wedded beneath


hoarfrost and hunger, their contented erasure

like staves of music that molder on a forgotten page


until their vanishing itself becomes the song.



Frank Paino’s poems have appeared in a variety of literary publications, including: Crab Orchard ReviewCatamaranNorth American ReviewKenyon Review, and World Literature Today. He has received a number of awards, including a Pushcart Prize, the Cleveland Arts Prize in Literature, and a 2016 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. His third book of poetry, Obscura, is published by Orison Books (2020).

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