Winter Spell
by Christine Swanberg

When Venus glides by Mars, and seven planets
stitch a diamond necklace
under Capricorn in the southwest twilight,
and a tangerine moon rises
like a Phoenix through murky clouds, find

a Depression Glass vase. Imagine
the Italian midwife who kept in near her
canary long before you were born. Listen to them.
Recite all the blessings of the year,
even those you didn't wish for. Especially those.

Place orange bittersweet and Chinese lanterns
in the vase, invoking lost loves
that have brought you to this cold enchantment.
Lay the vase on a window sill where
the moon cast long shadows through the trees

and a cat with one good eye might sleep
curled in a grapevine basket next to
The Dreamer's Dictionary from Good Will.
Find the last five dreams you can
remember, reading their meanings softly.

Arrange them into a story that begins with
Once upon a time in the Land of …
and ends with Lived happily ever after.
Tell the story to someone you long for.
Then, looking out the window, remember

footprints in hard-packed snow: cat, deer,
rabbit, raccoon, crow, sparrow.
Remember them as you brew hot tea:
mint, chamomile, and rosehips
in a Nippon teapot from Salvation Army.

Sing a song from childhood. Any song will do.

Published in WILD FRUITION: SONNETS, SPELLS, and OTHER INCANTATIONS (Puddin'head Press, Chicago).

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