(Illustration: Justin Strom/

(Illustration: Justin Strom/

It hadn’t occurred to me until someone at work brought it to my attention that this winter has been going on for eleven years. I said, “That can’t be. Surely not.” But then I got thinking about it. It was eleven years ago November we moved into this house. You remember, snow was just beginning and we had so much trouble getting the refrigerator down the driveway and through the door. Danny was eight and we got him a sled for Christmas. It’s amazing how one gets concerned with other things and the time just goes by. Here it is March and now that I’ve noticed it, the snow has begun to melt a little. During the day there’s water running in the street. It’s like a bird singing in a tree that flies just as you become aware of it. When you think about it, the world, cold and hard as it is, begins to fall apart.

(From Tin Flag: New and Selected Prose Poems, Will o’ the Wisp Books, copyright ©2013 by Louis Jenkins)


Louis Jenkins is the author of numerous books, most recently Before You Know It: Prose Poems 1970–2005; his book Tin Flag: New and Selected Prose Poems is forthcoming from Will O’ the Wisp Books. He is a frequent guest on A Prairie Home Companion, and his poems have been published in many journals and anthologies, including Great American Prose Poems (Scribner, 2003). His play, Nice Fish, written in collaboration with renowned actor Mark Rylance, premiered at the Guthrie Theater in April 2013.

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