“The Count … was surprised to find the feast spread in the garden, in which there were several feet of snow; … he remounted his horse and prepared at once to leave his inhospitable host. But the monk, falling to his knees, besought the Count to sit one moment at the board. He having done so, a most wondrous change passed on the instant over all around.” Nature, Sir Norman Lockyer
In winter, think of how a berry crushed
exudes the same dark blood it bled in spring.
These flowers in the frost—forever just
beyond the edge of sight—this evening
first broke the crust of snow before the thaw,
then blossomed into color on thick green
grass underfoot: you see it now. Because
the air expands in birdsong keen
and lyrical, and rabbits stagger in
from bitter cold outside the walls (a fox
looks in beyond the gate) and stretch their thin,
almost transparent ears, the dream concocts
similitude: this is the winter feast
the magus conjured, summoned at his whim.
Fruit out of season, any roasted beast
that roams the wide world you demand of him
is ready here, and only break the crust
atop a pie, and butterflies appear.
You do not know what flowers are at your feet
so beautiful the discourse at the board,
or how these other visitors complete
the circle, how you come to one accord
around the table; knowing strangers smile
and nod and everywhere are understood:
conviviality is here beguiled
across a silver platter heaped with crude
expensive sugared fruits, the filling cups
that never empty, never sink to dregs.
That music threading through the air erupts
in dance and song; a laugh incipient begs
to part your lips as summer kisses do.
But groping to your feet, the feasting done,
and passing through the gate, the evening dew
encrusts itself beneath your soles. The sun
of summer darkens into night. You look
behind: the garden winters into blight.
Gregory Loselle has won four Hopwood Awards at The University of Michigan, where he earned an MFA. He has won The Academy of American Poets Prize, the William van Wert Fiction Award from Hidden River Arts, and The Ruby Lloyd Apsey Award for Playwriting. He was the winner of the 2009 Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition, The Robert Frost Award of The Robert Frost Foundation, and the Rita Dove Prize for poetry (where he won both First Prize and an Honorable Mention) at Salem College. He has won multiple awards in the Poetry Society of Michigan’s Annual Awards Competition. His first chapbook, Phantom Limb, was published in 2008, and another, Our Parents Dancing, in 2010, both from Pudding House Press. Two more, The Whole of Him Collected, and About the House, were published by Finishing Line Press in 2012 and 2013 respectively. His short fiction has been featured in the Wordstock and Robert Olen Butler Competition anthologies, as well as in The Saturday Evening Post, and The Metro Times of Detroit, and his poetry has appeared in The Ledge, Oberon, The Comstock Review, Rattle, The Georgetown Review, River Styx, The Spoon River Poetry Review, The Pinch, Alehouse, Poetry Nook, Sow’s Ear, and online in The Ambassador Poetry Project, among others.