A Parallel Uni-Verse
Beneath a tree with moon-yellow apples
still on leafless branches in late November
a small buck is making a circle in new snow.
“They’re only pig apples” a real estate agent
told me when asked. “Good for nothing else.”
The buck pauses, bends its head to the snow
then looks up at the branches as if it’s waiting
for another miraculous moon-yellow apple to fall.


White-tailed Buck in a Pasture
By Tom Sexton
Winter Thaw
By Tom Sexton
Mist drifts over tangled blackberry canes
over saplings wind has hooped to the ground,

it drifts past a cup-shaped songbird’s nest
that’s anchored to an eye-level branch,

a nest that’s made of grass and hair,
it climbs a tamarack’s knotty vertebrae

then like a magician’s coin it disappears
leaving behind a voice that seems to say,

once I was a vernal pool, once I was a glacier.
Step out of those winter weary bones and rise
.


Tom Sexton lives in Anchorage, Alaska, and was poet laureate of that state from 1995 to 2003. He spends every other winter in his house in Eastport, Maine. His most recent collection of poems is I Think Again of Those Ancient Chinese Poets published by University of Alaska Press.
Money
By Tom Sexton
A friend about to leave for Paris calls
and says, “money is a kind of song.”
I take a few bills out of my wallet and
put them face up on the kitchen table.
Washington’s lips are thin and pursed.
Jefferson could be a sphinx in a wig.
I smooth a few creases from the bills
but nothing happens. I wait in silence.
Outside the window, a Stellers Jay
tilts its crested head to look at me
then begins to sing its raucous song.


Crows on a Winter Morning
By Tom Sexton
Sitting near the top of wind-twisted tree
covered with frozen brown apples, a triad
of silent crows, motionless, watching me
while the morning tide ebbs with a sigh
past islands almost hidden by fog?
Are they the same crows I saw yesterday?
Do they wonder what rimes with fog?
Those islands could be ships moving away.

One tilts its head, cuts the air with its beak,
looks down, caws. Does it have something
profound to say in crow, something just for me?
Perhaps how a melancholic can learn to sing.
Probably not. Crows are only crows.
One more caw, then it shits a stream as white as snow.


Tom Sexton lives in Anchorage, Alaska, and was poet laureate of that state from 1995 to 2003. He spends every other winter in Eastport, Maine. His most recent collection of poems is A Ladder of Cranes.