19 December 2010


Six months ago
the northern hemisphere
began its darkening.

There are some who say
it is darkest before dawn.

Last week, when somebody in her
6th period science class asked why
she didn’t just ask her parents
for an iPod, Josie Storm cried.
She later told her teacher,
“I hate Christmas. I have three sisters
and my dad died last year. We don’t have
any money.”

Mrs. Estes down the hall
is kicking her husband out
when he returns from the hospital
because he’s lied to her for
15 years about everything
(you don’t want to know).

At age 23, Miss Penny Porter’s
30 something fiancée is happiest
when receiving her constant
adoration. Demanding her time,
his controlling cascades into
suffocating suckiness. He becomes
tyrannical. Counseled to kick him
the fuck away, she doesn’t know
what she will do. She cries until
no tears remain.

It is darkest before dawn.
Punctuating bitter cold,
occasional chinook winds
dissolve snow in sloppy slush
that freezes again into lumps of ice
in the road. Slippery lines of
bouldered mountains manipulate
car’s unresponsive tires.
For brief moments
drivers experience the panic
of falling through life— that place
where Penny Porter, Mrs. Estes,
and Josie Storm are stuck.

In December coyote is howling
palpable pain through the air.
A trail of blood marks the path
where his foot sits in steel clamped jaws.
It is darkest before dawn.
Cold seals raw wound as his mother
tilts toward Daystar, beginning
to light coyote’s way home through
winter’s cold canyons. He learns
to navigate life on three legs
one awkward step at a time.

Check out Sunday Scribblings for creative explorations of "December."


jaerose said...

'Darkest before dawn' - wow, you just described that feeling perfectly..Jae

Greta said...

What awesome imagery and descriptive writing!

Mary said...

Wow, just wow. So much pain, but you give a glimmer of hope too. Powerful stuff!

Lilibeth said...

There's a lot of pain in December too.

Berowne said...

Powerful writing...

Gordon Mason said...

Brenda, there is just so much in this I had to read it over (and over!). Wonderful imagery and emotion.

flaubert said...

Brenda quite the poignant piece, especially the ending.

Anonymous said...

Brenda, so many unique ways of looking at the age-old phrase, "Darkest before the dawn." Thank you. The coyote broke my heart, though, just as much as the bad relationships...

Have yourself a merry, Amy

gs batty said...

I love this piece. I was immediately reminded of David Lee one of my favorite poets. the pace of theis piece is similar to his and the down home flavor could come right out of one of his books. needless to say I really like your writing

A Fistful Of Moonbeams™ said...

December comes alive, and picturesque with this wonderous piece!

Wendy said...

Such a pileup of darkness. At one point, the point in which the animal's foot is caught in the trap, it doesn't seem as if it can get any worse. Yet when you write "cold seals the wound," I feel my heart is a little lighter somehow. Cold causes suffering and puts a stop to suffering. I feel hope that the speaker is removed from the suffering...just an observer, even though that, too, can be its own sort of pain.

Linda Jacobs said...

Love, love, love this poem! I'm going to print it out and use it with my poetry-writing students. The metaphor at the end is so perfect!

And, I took your advice and saved the correcting until Monday! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

wow. this is a fabulous piece.