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Turn of a Year

Joan Houlihan

This is regret: or a ferret. Snuffling,
stunted, a snout full of snow.

As the end of day shuffles down
the repentant scurry and swarm—

an unstable contrition is born.
Bend down. Look into the lair.

Where newborn pieties spark and strike
I will make my peace as a low bulb

burnt into a dent of snow. A cloth to keep me
from seeping. Light crumpled over a hole.

Why does the maker keep me awake?
He must want my oddments, their glow.

From The Mending Warm by Joan Houlihan © 2006. Reprinted by permission from New Issues Poetry & Prose.

From The Mending Warm by Joan Houlihan © 2006. Reprinted by permission from New Issues Poetry & Prose.

Joan Houlihan

by this poet

poem
All halted elegance, you make a paper wolf for me 
then blow into a bottle for the howl. We are so merry 
in the belly of July, knees pressed together, kissing

as we eat, while west, in Gran Dolina, the intact 
skeletons are spread with tools around a cold hearth. 
Trouble yourself: they are deformed 

by a
poem
RAG SMELL.  FIRE smell.  Bed blacked.  Bowl. 
The quiet come from living done.
Shadow built the walls, holed and cribbed with light.
Vine felt cracks and fingered in.
Were sky inside 
and what the wind-holes left, a wind.
Ay walk the last. What were floor 
heaves rock and root. 
Flame-eaten walls, rubs of wood