By Vivian Wagner

I cooked white pine
needles and branches
in my crockpot last
night while snow
fell and blew,
the temperature
dropping, winter
settling its wide,
white flanks over
trees and hillsides.
This morning the
tea has a sharp,
bright smell, and
I’m cooling it,
waiting for oil to
form on the surface.
There’s no name
for the things
we do to survive
when earth’s tilted
away from the sun.
We just do them,
wordlessly, moving
toward whatever small
warmth we can create. ■




Vivian Wagner lives in New Concord, Ohio, where she’s an associate professor of English at Muskingum University. She’s the author of a memoir, Fiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music (Citadel-Kensington), and several chapbooks and collections of poetry: The Village (Aldrich Press-Kelsay Books), Making (Origami Poems Project), Curiosities (Unsolicited Press), and Raising (Clare Songbirds Publishing).

Cover image by Dan Keck.

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