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January in Wisconsin
by Mary Jo Balistreri

The bamboo in its climb
toward the sun, bends and bows
with the delicacy of a ballerina.
New shoots spike and curl,
abundance haloed
in a Sauterne glow.
As I follow the curve
of their sturdy stems
on my kitchen table,
Wisconsin’s frigid air
brightens to tropical green.
I look at frozen lakes,
snowdrifts, the skeletal oaks,
watch a cardinal teeter
at the feeder, red hibiscus
coat swaying with the wind.
I trade terns for gulls
as they circle the pond,
and the chalky sky becomes
dawn over the Atlantic.
I dream sky-blue transparencies,
dragonfly wings,
leathery leaf of sea grapes
until the kettle rumbles
on the back burner
and whistles me back north.
As I make chamomile tea,
look at the stark landscape–
no palms, no butterflies–
my attention is drawn
to the hem of late afternoon,
how it gilds the tops of pines
as they lay blue-green shawls
on the snow, and the snow
dusted coppery rose, shimmers.
I sit in repose, the splurge
of radiance rolled out just for me.


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