Winter Simple

by Elizabeth Tibbetts

So this is my winter life at night
tucked in bed alone with a book of poems
and a magazine (my secret vice) that professes
to simplify life by expounding on clothes
that make one thinner, agedefying creams,
and closets. Usually I flash past ads and head

to the advice which never tells me what
I really want to know. But a few issues back
a pair of shoes snagged me so bad I moaned,
went so far as to seek them out. I gazed at
those heels black velvet, patent leather trim,
and skinny straps like I was some scruffy kid

with her nose pressed against the bakery
window. I couldn’t spend two hundred bucks
on shoes, or five hundred for the right dress,
or the hundred grand for the life. I bought
the fourdollar lotion recommended for skin
in the dead of winter. I swear I’ll never buy

another issue. But then, when days are short
and lines in the grocery store, long, and I long
to tuck myself between the sheets and flip
picture to picture, one slips like sin into my cart.
So here I am, a few pages into Ahkmatova,
standing in snow with her outside the prison gates.

The world has come down around us and never
stops. When I can’t take any more of what’s cupped
inside these poems, I’ll close her book and reach out
my guilty hand for that fat magazine and join
my sisters across this land, being lulled by the most
ordinary advice into some semblance of sleep.