Migrant winter


Remnants of cotton hold fast to dry stalks,

lifted and let go by the wind,

tattered flags on distant, high mountains

hang with the worry and promise of prayer


The lowness of this country moves wind along,

tall pines on the horizon

flat, Carolina fields

cracked windows and fallen porches

of long-forgotten farmhouses



whistling swans,

wings move them along

toward their winterplace


Men gather in cool morning,

blow warm breath into cupped hands

laugh and wait

climbers of ancient mountains

consider the moment

before weight is divided


Guanajuato's traveler

looks up toward cold sky

thinks, has he seen these travelers

over the low desert plain

once, a younger man

with less to carry


Jennifer Hughes