12. Kansas Day, January 25

Long winter nights turtles burrow in mud beds

while we drive blotted icy roads. They rest heavy shells

and sleep. Above them, beavers chink domed lodges

and patrol the waterways. Fishing boats hear their slaps.


And in this season of hard weather we gather,

sheltered by timbers and masonry walls.

We repaint ceilings with star animals and hunters.

We remember “Ad astra per aspera” as sun tilts south

— Denise Low

Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, is a national board member of the Associated Writing Programs and has awards from the NEH, Lannan, Ks. Arts Commission, and Ks. Center for the Book. She has taught at Haskell Indian Nations Univ., Univ. of Ks. and Univ. of Richmond. Her publications include 20 books of poetry and prose. Low grew up in Emporia and is of British, German, Delaware and Cherokee heritage. She is 5th generation Kansan. www.DeniseLow.com

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