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I’m warm enough
awake in fading starlight,
hint of dawn lifting roads,
strings of lamps among woven fields
sharpening as sky relentlessly brightens.
Hello, sunrise
from Mount Sugar, a modest mountain
but the best I’ve got.

This trail home I know by heart.
Here are your roses tangled pink
as your exuberance climbing a fence.

The dog remained all night on watch.
In the kitchen you wait with cold coffee
accepting that once a year
I climb a mountain by moonlight
testing a murmur, an atrial flutter
to view a dawn that will come
regardless of witness.

I say you could do better than me but
you say There are no hierarchies of love.
Ask any dog. The dog isn’t talking but
I saw sunrise from Mount Sugar.
Our hearts so strong, I swear.


Joe Cottonwood is a semi-retired contractor with a lifetime of repairing homes. He has gradually downsized from building houses to small projects, a planter box, a carved owl. His style is to let the natural flaws of wood become assets, the knot, the odd color, the wavy grain, to find beauty without polishing the crap out of it. And so, words. His most recent book is Foggy Dog. More at

Poem © 2019, by Joe Cottonwood

Photo © 2019, Alison Stedman

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