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Winter Ode by Diane Wakoski

December 25, 1988

winter winter winter there is winter in my heart I am past 30 and winter is like my feet, frozen animals in the snow winter winter the name of everyone I love rings in these syllables winter winter everyone I wait for is asleep and winter is the winter of my aching throat and my hands that look in the dark for something warm to touch winter winter you remind me that winter numbs me I cannot feel what I am touching a friend a round a fat sun a man with red round face blazing with ragged fire blazing with his need to be the center of this system, he says you hate young girls, Diane, forgetting that you yourself are a young girl and I think of my wintery smile, my eyes of winter that want to freeze all the young warm girls of the world who are stealing you, the man I love, away from me, those girls who take ancient husbands away from ancient wives and the foolish ancient women they will become who will lose their even more ancient husbands to other young girls and no one sees winter, the deep winter, the winter of every night alone of an empty house of gold snakes of chainy metal that are warmer, more alive, touch me oftener than you, the man I love, the man with winter in his ax, the man who puts winter between himself and me the man who makes me ache with cold, who makes me think of the moon, look at the frozen brook winter winter, a syllable of snow, a whisper in a blizzard that is how my love for you is received, like a whisper in a blizzard. I remember always the word

that defines my life winter winter winter winter winter winter 1969

From "Emerald Ice: Selected Poems, 1962-1987" (Black Sparrow Press: $20, cloth; $12.50, paper; 343 pp.). Wakoski was born in Whittier, Calif., in 1937 and educated at UC Berkeley. She has published 16 collections of poems, including "The Rings of Saturn" (1986) and criticism collected in "Toward a New Poetry" (1980). She is currently Writer in Residence at Michigan State University. 1988, Diane Wakoski. Reprinted by permission of Black Sparrow Press.

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