I rise in the darkness of a winter day,
drink a cup of peppermint tea,
and breathe in pungent steam,
as the sun pokes its delicate corona
above the hoary fields.
I am the flannel goddess of dawn
the polyester priestess of birdseed.
I open bins of sunflower and millet
and measure out the right mix
for the finches, sparrows, jays, and doves,
inviting them to a ceremony of food.
Inside, I take off vest, gloves, hat,
and blow on my icy fingers.
I sit at my computer and begin to type.
My fingers move to the rhythms of take offs and landings,
the whirr of wings providing accompaniment
to the melody of my winter writes.
Maralee Gerke lives and writes in Madras, Oregon. She is and avid reader and gardener. She describes herself as a work in progress. Her poems have been published in Calyx, Exit Thirteen, Moonset, Bathtub Gin, Anthology, Nerve Cowboy, Avocet, and Tigers Eye. She has published two books of poems and has had poetry and prose accepted in several anthologies. Her work can be seen online at Shadow Poetry, Long Story Short, and Moontown Café. She recently recorded 4 poems for the Oregon Poetic Voices Project. They can be heard at oregonpoeticvoices.org One of her poems, "Refuge", was recently selected to be printed as a limited edition broadside by the Penland School of Crafts.