The longest night seeps onto the horizon. Stillness
as tracks – squirrel? otter? – crystallize in the cold,
Oak Moon rising in a hungry sky.
A falcon dives, fur squirming, grasped in tight talons,
snow powdering the air.
Air sharp, stinging urges us through woods
where skeleton trees scratch the dusk,
limbs creak and snap.
The fox matches stride with the deer
and ravens stalk hawthorn berries blood-red,
fiery against the pines. Darkness crouches close, swallows
winter’s light and urges the candle, the fire,
the bolted the door.
KB Ballentine’s sixth collection, The Light Tears Loose, appeared this summer with Blue Light Press. Published in Crab Orchard Review and Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, among others, her work also appears in anthologies including In Plein Air (2017) and Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace (2017). Learn more at www.kbballentine.com.