Advent

by Karen Craigo

Something in us wants
to bring in the light, sit
by a candle until we start
to feel tongues on our skin.
My head feels heavy
on the stalk of my neck,
like a seedpod the birds
return to. It isn’t true
the robins leave. They just
go deep into woods,
wait the winter out.
Sometimes you see their
twin trinities in the snow,
fat ornaments in a tree
puffed up against the chill.

Karen Craigo teaches, for the time being, at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. You’ve probably never heard of it. She is the author of two chapbooks, most recently Someone Could Build Something Here (Winged City, 2013), and her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals.

What surprising, fascinating stuff can you tell us about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of “Advent”?

    The other day I lost my job—I mean that I found out, like non-tenure track faculty so often do, that my contract is not being renewed after this academic year. I took the news quite hard, and I’ve really been through the wringer since—sad, bitter, angry, defiant, even, in my better hours, a little hopeful and excited about what the future might hold. Since this is the liturgical season of Advent, I’m trying to lose the bitterness (God, I hate feeling that way!) and sharpen my sense of anticipation. I want to live expectantly, always hopeful and optimistic about what might come next. The more I think hopefully, the less I want to throat-punch someone. I like this poem, the first of a series, because it tries to reclaim my optimism.
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