This week’s poem, Evelyn Alsup’s “Winter Song,” lyrically conjures late-winter rituals and cycles. I love this poem’s clarion voice and its beautiful, achingly embodied imagery of washing and walking, waiting and circling.

Alsup is 18 and lives in Portland. She loves to read and write and has recently enjoyed the work of Charles Simic and Frank O’Hara.

Winter Song
By Evelyn Alsup

Late February is here.
I can feel it through the windows.

In this city,
I walk while there is light.

I wash my face each night.
And wait until I am here in this body
with the soft pulse in my fingertips.
Ritual is lonely,
wide circles around
a soft new face.
Only to be clean.

This is all I have for myself.
The rest is for you.

This city is waning,
old and bald and freezing.
We will still come back.
For what we need,
for gentle domesticity
How is that?
We can know already,

feel it walk ahead of us

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. “Winter Song,” copyright 2024 by Evelyn Alsup, appears by permission of the author.

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