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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 6: January 2021
Haibun: 176 words
By Adele Kenny

December in the Trees


The dog I named for a poet sits beside me. A dozen times a day he looks up as if to ask, What’s going on? He senses anxiety. Numbers have surged again—higher now than in April—and there’s still no getting away from this tight knot of knowing, fear’s persistent rattle. So many days, so many months—I lose track of the date.

sheltered in place—
is it Wednesday
or Thursday?

Birds come to the backyard feeders, sparrows and doves, all with bright wings to lift them—a red-bellied woodpecker drills its own version of words into the maple.

the depth
of this stillness

One season shifts into the next. There’s talk now of vaccines and hope, but I can’t remember the last time I hugged a friend or shook a stranger’s hand. An old man walks past my house, singing inside his mask the chorus from “Eve of Destruction.” Different era, different destruction—but, still, the sound carries.

December in the trees—
I long for the way
things were



Publisher’s Note:

The complete lyrics of “Eve of Destruction,” a Dylanesque protest song written by P. F. Sloan in 1964 and sung by Barry McGuire (1965 MCA Records), are available at SongFacts. (Webpage also includes video with soundtrack of McGuire’s recording.)

Adele Kenny
Issue 6, January 2021

is the author of 25 books and chapbooks (poetry and nonfiction). Her poems, reviews, and articles have been published in journals, books, and anthologies worldwide. Among other awards, she has received poetry fellowships from the NJ State Arts Council, a first place Merit Book Award, a Writer’s Digest Award, a Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, and Kean University’s Distinguished Alumni Award. Her book A Lightness, A Thirst, or Nothing at All (prose poems, 2015) was a Paterson Poetry Prize Finalist. Her most recent book, Wind Over Stones (2019), is a collection of ekphrastic prose poems with QR codes that link to images of the paintings that inspired them.

Founding director of the Carriage House Poetry Series and poetry editor of Tiferet Journal, Ms. Kenny has read in the US, England, Ireland, and France, and has twice been a Geraldine R. Dodge Festival poet.

Author’s website: www.adelekenny.com

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

“Different Paths Up the Same Mountain”: An Interview with Adele Kenny by Matthew Thorburn in The Ploughshares Blog (2 February 2016)

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