The Last Light of the Year

In the house, the heat kicks on,
the refrigerator hums a room steady.

The last hedge apple on the tree rolls
down the roof, and the cat jumps on the table.

The friend you love is all ashes now
waiting for you and others to scatter.

The ideas you have about time or what's right
are lighter than all that ash.

See the budded ends of the cottonwood,
months away from unfurling?

It's like that, and also this: green-black etchings
of cedars waver on the soft sky.

Headlights from the crest of a hill
angle into an empty room.
Here. Take note.

Be still, good heart, bad heart.
Don't be swayed by guessing which.

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About the Author

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of 24 books, including How Time Moves: New & Selected Poems; Miriam's Well, a novel; Needle in the Bone, a non-fiction book on the Holocaust; The Sky Begins At Your Feet: A Memoir on Cancer, Community, and Coming Home to the Body. Founder of Transformative Language Arts, she leads writing workshops widely, coaches people on writing and right livelihood, and consults on creativity.

Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
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