First Day -- poetry by Emerson Keen
The first day is always cold.
There is cider on the stove and in
your hands. The clouds pressing
hands against windows,
the trees are a group of mourners
encircling the house. Birds not
tossing down from the coal colored
An ugly boy sitting at the edge of
the frozen pond. The clothesline is blank.
When the fish look up, which they cannot do,
they can see the sky of ice; the overlord
with no moon. Your fingers are
burning against the metal; the snow
in your eyebrows.
And I hope it gets messy,
that it’s love like dirt in the snow
or a fallen kingdom. Crying in
the cold; those flatlands that
have had the green pounded out
Winter is a burning fire, your
friend’s jacket at the doorway;
and when I say I love the cold,
what I mean is that I love a glowing table,
orange windows in navy abyss,
that I love feeling warmth
after its absence.
Emerson Keen is a junior from Decatur High School. Though she’s farther away from death than she is near to it, she’s overall pretty sure life is about love, and a couple other things like reading and laughing. In addition to writing poems instead of doing homework, she is fond of gardening, listening to music, and Mary Oliver. She is a district winner for Young Georgia Authors and was Georgia Youth Poet Laureate Finalist in 2022. She is perpetually grateful to her past and future teachers, as well as her friends and family for their love.