Winter Solstice

Late December grinds on down.
The sky stops, slate on slate,
scatters a cold light of snow
across a field of brittle weeds.

Each boot step cracks a stalk.
The pigments have been dragged
earthwards and clasped. The groundhog
curls among the roots curling.

Towards home I peel blossoms
of frozen mud from my pant legs
and pull off burrs that waited
for wind or the flashing red fox.

In my jacket pocket I find
a beechnut, slightly cracked
open, somehow fallen there,
and, enfolded inside of it,

a spider that unclenches
yellow in my steaming palm –
a spider that is 
the sun.

Copyright © 2004 by Ray McNiece. From Bone Orchard Conga (WordSmith Press, 4th Edition, 2004). Used with the permission of the poet.