The snow retreats,
until it’s a lace collar
circling the ridge.
A few white strands spool
down the mountainside. 
On the marsh, fresh scat.

Last night I heard – or invented –
a coyote howling.

With so few people here,
I’ve taken to counting things.

One owl in a mountain alder.
Ten marsh swallows in the scrub
who protest being disturbed.

On the other side of Summer Lake,
a light blinks.
Ranger station? Cabin?

Warning signs are everywhere.
Too dry a January.

Last year’s fire scars the hillside
with sentries of blackened trunks.
I fear for the summer months.



Carol V. Davis is the author of Because I Cannot Leave This Body (Truman State Univ. Press, 2017) and Between Storms (TSUP, 2012). She won the 2007 T.S. Eliot Prize for Into the Arms of Pushkin: Poems of St. Petersburg. Her first book, It’s Time to Talk About…, was published in a bilingual English/Russian edition, Symposium, 1996). Her poetry has been read on National Public Radio, the Library of Congress and Radio Russia. Twice a Fulbright scholar in Russia, she also taught in Siberia, winter 2018 and teaches at Santa Monica College, California and Antioch University, Los Angeles.