Poetry Daily: http://www.poems.com/

Muscle of difficulty


November's clench. A sullen band
of cloud is louring in the West—
a low forehead, a corrugated frown.
Behind it comes the cold drop of frost
and autumn's first hard night.

Corrugator—the tightening band
over the forehead's bone,
the 'muscle of difficulty,'
of concentration, effort, of leaning in
to frigid wind.

I lean into this coming season
of difficulty, when the sun
will struggle to raise its head
above the angle of sunset,
its bleak obliquity.

November's forehead wears
scoured furrow, tension.
Forgets joy, the orbicular crinkle
of eye, those other muscles
to be strengthened.

I think of squinting into the ache
of snow, corrugated tracks.
Facing into November, I find it
difficult to anticipate
consolations—

the warmth of small, enclosed spaces,
the candles of memory
at its center. How can this ever be
enough? I fear too much.
The losses. Isolation.

                  (Note)


Alice Major

The New Quarterly

Fall 2013


To view this poem online, visit the Poetry Daily archive at http://www.poems.com/archive.php
View a large-print version of this poem