Only one cell in the frozen hive of night
is lit, or so it seems to us:
this Vietnamese café, with its oily light,
its odors whose colorful shapes are like flowers.
Laughter and talking, the tick of chopsticks.
Beyond the glass, the wintry city
creaks like an ancient wooden bridge.
A great wind rushes under all of us.
The bigger the window, the more it trembles.
"In January" by Ted Kooser. Text as published in Delights & Shadows (Copper Canyon Press, 2004).
Art credit: Photograph of an orange lamp in a Vietnamese restaurant in Hanoi, by wpjrnl.com.