Winter Sculpting

For Kelley

In a workshop in the land 
of redwoods and cool pine air 
he caresses the possibilities
of what might emerge
from the wood before him. 

On the bench are knives, rasps
a mallet—deceptively heavy
because divining what has been 
long-buried is not light work. 

A laying on of hands and a long 
calculated cut begins the winter 
sculpting, smoothing and slicing
toward a vision of what awaits
the shape that draws him to it.

On a train that slices through snow
tall buildings of concrete and steel
she fills a poem with wood smoke|
the scent of pine, the way the sky 
reflects a silver ocean when 
the world turns upside down 
in a circle of cypress
on the headlands
a hollow of tangled limbs 
sprawling vistas.

Beneath his searching hands 
her reflective images
the long-buried possibilities  
of their imaginings 
begin to take shape. 

Marlis Manley Broadhead

Marlis Manley Broadhead—whose debut novelTrophy Girlwas awarded the William Faulkner Second-place Award in 2018 and published September 30, 2021—earned an MFA with Distinction in fiction writing from Wichita State University, where she was an MFA Fellow. She has taught English—including creative writing—at several universities, including College of the Redwoods in Fort Bragg, where she founded of the annual Mendocino Coast Writer’s Conference. She has published award-winning short fiction and more than 100 poems in literary magazines—includingKansas Quarterly, Crosscurrents,andKansas Women Writers.She continues to write novels and poetry plus a monthly newsletter—Musings & Mirth—on a modest horse ranch in her home state of Kansas, four miles from where her son lives with lions and tigers while directing Cedar Cove Feline Conservatory and Education Center. Life, she says, is a banquet.