This week’s poem, Cait Vaughan’s “Late December, Early Winter,” offers a manifesto for life in the coldest, darkest season of the year. I love this poem’s fluid, lyrical voice, its nod to Audre Lorde’s poem “Movement Song,” and its beautiful embrace of the dark.

Vaughan is a reproductive rights organizer, birth doula, harm reductionist and queer bonus mom living in Portland. She began exchanging poems with a group of writer friends this April and through their encouragement, insights and camaraderie has written more during the pandemic than she managed in the five years prior.

Poets, please note that submissions to Deep Water are open through the end of the year. Deep Water is especially eager to share poems by Black writers, writers of color, Indigenous writers, and other underrepresented voices. You’ll find a link to submit in the credits below.


Late December, Early Winter

By Cait Vaughan


I refuse to treat

these winter days

like a dishrag—ringing

out each drop of light,

rough means to

a mythic end.


The Lorde said: We can

-not waste time, only



So I slip into the moon

-filled half of my days

like open water,

regretting nothing

& holding close

the thick, soft

center of solitude,

what is only


in the dark.


Megan Grumbling is a poet and writer who lives in Portland. Deep Water: Maine Poems is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. “Late December, Early Winter,” copyright © 2020 by Cait Vaughan, appears by permission of the author. Submissions to Deep Water are open now and through the end of the year. For more information, go to

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