Lake Effect, Spring 2019, Volume 23: "January Halo"

January Halo

by Alyssa Jewell


The rice fields glint back toward the cold

copper moon,

so full and heavy

along the Sacramento highway that an unbroken figure shines out:

concentric circles overlapping in the frost.


I have lived too much of this life

with one foot in another world.

I don’t recognize my hands on the steering wheel

where the sunrises in my fingernails

fade from my line of vision. Today my voice belongs

to no one

and this frightens me,

even as my friend in Michigan

calls to say


it’s happening again: her cupboard doors swung open wide as if a hurricane

barreled through her breezeway—

kitchen chairs scattered about the

linoleum floor, the morning

newspaper unfolded on its own.


When she comes home, this quiet chaos,

a reliable haunting, hollows her out in the loneliest hours.

No one believes it

she says, and all our afternoons in our own

separate spaces


have grown so very cold.

I light a match down by the boiler blown out

and consider how no one wants to keep company with a spirit holding

to all that will not last.