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by Jessica Goodfellow

The Work of Winter 

A winter is essentially crooked. With bruised forefingers it makes a trap. The task of a winter consists of being able to make something out of adieux. 

The duty of the winter is to remind us that we will die. And that we aren’t dead yet. Every mercy winter must reinvent mercy. 

Winter as Timekeeper 

A winter is a world trapped in a season. 

An obsessional winter is a calendar that didn’t quit. 

It’s not unusual for winters to be the chisels of forever. 

The weight of winters is always greater than the pauses they reinvent. 

The Ethics of Winter 

A good winter possesses not only its own secrets but also the secrets of its end. All bad winters are in love with the epic. 

It’s not unusual for winters to be the chapels of forfeiture. 

It’s not as though anyone thinks that being a good winter makes it a good season. 

There will also be a certain amount of monastical confusion which, if not driven out of its dread by heavy cooling, will flee the winter to stand a penance on its fatalistic fallible head when necessary. 

In other words, every Jesus winter must reinvent Jesus.




Note: All lines are quotes from writers about being a writer, with the words writer/s replaced with the words winter/s. Subsequently, other words were also replaced with similar-sounding words for meaning (or lack of). For example, Victor Hugo's "A writer is a world trapped in a 

person" becomes “A winter is a world trapped in a season." Additionally, pronouns (definite and indefinite) may have been changed for grammatical purposes; likewise, verb agreement may have been changed. 

The original quotes come from writers including: Richard Bach, Marvin Bell, Kathryn Chetkovich, E. M. Forster, Ernest Hemingway, Victor Hugo, Claire Lispector, Thomas Mann, Frederich Nietzsche, Anne Sexton, and Solmaz Sharif. 

These poems are excerpted from the piece, Winter: Echoes.

Jessica Goodfellow’s poetry books are Whiteout (University of Alaska Press, 2017), Mendeleev’s Mandala (2015), and The Insomniac’s Weather Report (2014). A former writer-in-residence at Denali National Park and Preserve, she’s had poems in The Southern Review, Ploughshares, Scientific American, Verse Daily, Motionpoems, and Best American Poetry. Jessica lives and works in Japan.

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