Aesthetic Realism Online Library Poetry by Eli Siegel

Chapped Second Fingers

In the midst of January

It is good to think of cherry-

Blossom time, some months away.

January has been relentless—that is,

Cold; and we know it can be.

It should, then, enable us to prize the ripple

In warmth, the green in fresh, restrained heat.

January must be useful

Towards making us see the red of summer,

Of cherries, for instance—and at noon

There are lanes with thick leaves above them,

Hanging properly from branches, on branches,

In June summeriness, July wide hotness.

All this is meant to insult

Unkempt and nipping January,

Brutal month, of ice, and winds from rivers (to the west),

Of sleighs perhaps, and chapped second fingers.