40 Below


lemon bits float / like a slow / snowfall. I leave / a pile of sunflower seeds / on the sidewalk / a carrot on the stoop.

Poetry by Ryan Vine

In our hot whiskeys
lemon bits float

like a slow
snowfall. I leave

a pile of sunflower seeds
on the sidewalk

a carrot on the stoop.
For the crows I throw out

something sweet: gingerbread
walls from a house

no one’s going to eat;
some hard, jellied

toast from lunch.
It’s only 4:30

but nearly dark.
Lake Superior’s sea smoke’s

risen like a white wall
come to close us in.

There’s no use
for a fireplace.

Open the flue and winter
dips its straws in and sucks

and sucks. Wolf spiders
wait in tiny white caves

hung like shelves
in basement corners.

The old furnace
kicks on: a haunted

drum set. We sleep
to the steady beat.

Ryan Vine’s debut full collection To Keep Him Hidden (Salmon, 2018), winner of the 2018 Northeastern Minnesota Book Award, was a finalist for several first book prizes, including—selected by Robert Pinsky—the Dorset Prize. His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and on National Public Radio. His chapbook, Distant Engines (Backwaters Press, 2006), won a Weldon Kees Award and spent time on the Poetry Foundation’s contemporary best-seller list.

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