Winter Festival

G.C. Waldrep

after Nelly Sachs

I broke my compass

beneath my youth.

I laid aside the Psalms

at daybreak,

my own fingernails

waiting, in mourning

& yet somehow

without grief.

The not-grief

of patience listening,

its directionless


A man enters

into God’s own game,

he breathes upon

the figure carved

in ice. It melts a little.

A horizon

raked open, exposed

to the call

of suffering

inheritance, inferred.

Fine prophecies

of mended nets

on the day-struck


I carry them.

Out past the irony.

Not a question

of grammar,

you understand,

but of welcome.

about the author