at the soft place in the snowbank…


In the Late Season
by Tom Hennen

At the soft place in the snowbank
Warmed to dripping by the sun
There is the smell of water.
On the western wind the hint of glacier.
A cottonwood tree warmed by the same sun
On the same day,
My back against its rough bark
Same west wind mild in my face.
A piece of spring
Pierced me with love for this empty place
Where a prairie creek runs
Under its cover of clear ice
And the sound it makes,
Mysterious as a heartbeat,
New as a lamb.

Tom Hennen, “In the Late Season” from Darkness Sticks to Everything: Collected and New Poems. © 2013 by Tom Hennen.

If well written, every line of a poem can be a title:


“Early Spring in the Field” by Tom Hennen from Darkness Sticks to Everything. © Copper Canyon Press, 2013.
Tom Hennen’s poem, reformatted, to show every line as a title.

The crow’s voice filtered through the walls of the farmhouse

sounds of a rusty car engine turning over

clouds on a north wind that whistles softly and cold

spruce trees planted in a line on the south side of the house weave and scrape at the air

I’ve walked to a far field to a fence line of rocks where I am surprised to see soft mud this raw day

no new tracks in the mud

desiccated grass among the rocks

a bare grove of trees in the distance

a blue sky thin as an eggshell with a crack of dark geese running through it

their voices faint and almost troubled as they disappear in a wedge that has opened at last the cold heart of winter.

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