Christmas Wind | Emily Strauss


At Christmas the wind
that had blasted our tent
for three days died and stillness
fell– I heard a single coyote
call from the cliff behind us

the nearly full moon rose
behind a bank of rain clouds
like some dusty nebula,
light glimmered far below
where the freeway ran
in the valley

pink dusk shone a moment
beneath the clouds like
faded neon, the rest gray
layers– it would rain soon
and the dry sand would soak
it in and green shoots
would appear at the base
of long-dead grasses
in the wash, the old tracks
would fade

range cattle would huddle
under thin pinon pines
and the night under
the clouds wouldn’t be
so cold

though we would hold
each other as if for our lives
and maybe it would be
our lives that we felt so
closely in that thick absence
of stars, the directions
themselves erased

without the wind, the land
seemingly erased of all
existence coming to rest
yet we remained dying
for daylight.

Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry. More than 90 of her poems appear in public online and in anthologies. The natural world is her framework; she often focuses on the tension between nature and humanity, using concrete images to illuminate the loss of meaning between them. 

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