Janice Dabney is a native California poet who has been writing and publishing her work in various journals for 30 years, including Poetry Northwest, Poet Lore, Hayden's Ferry Review, and Santa Clara Review.
She attended Bread Loaf Writers' Conference twice as a Contributor, working with the poets Stanley Plumly and William Matthews.
The growl of cold air before sunrise says to pull
buttons quick to button holes. Layers of thick wool,
our wives dress us right, fill our stomachs full
of hot grain, cooked slow as on those early school
mornings when we were young. My brother’s bowl
will empty first, refill twice. The women lull
our boy-calves to sleep, then wave us bulls
to distant forests for two days to cut wood.
Children noticed water pulling back,
past where parents let them wade. As if
the Spirit had filled his cheeks by sucking
exposing rocks on shore, boats their
used to fish in early morning hours. They
for that moment they could walk to earth’s