NIÑONELLE Fargo, ND, 2015 Sixty degrees in mid-October—this year’s so-mild Fall, arranged, they say, by El Niño. And soon, winter, the warmest maybe, ever recorded. The Christ Child, it’s called by fisherfolk in Peru and Ecuador, warm water days when all will beach their boats at Christmas-time to repair worn nets. It’s sixty degrees today, October 21st , and it’s altered the usual—we go about in flimsy jackets, shorts even, small children bumped along in strollers, parents almost sweating to the warmth degree. El Niño, the Christ Child, a waltz of current and wind off Chili and Peru, the pattern-stall that could nudge Dakota’s winter to a wonderful ever-best. Low sixties outdoors in October—but hopefully, not a false promise of weathery grace—the backyard crab apples have shed their berries and leaves after all—forgetting how the Christ Child's swift winds above the Pacific can do miracles in North Dakota—or promises of miracles— a crazy hope that winter ahead might be just a gentle guest. Sixty degrees—a heat wave here in October. So we call to the Christ Child: Oh Niño, please, please don’t falter.
William Snyder has published poems in Cardinal Sins, Atlanta Review, Poet Lore, and Southern Humanities Review among others. He was the co-winner of the 2001 Grolier Poetry Prize; winner of the 2002 Kinloch Rivers Chapbook competition; The CONSEQUENCE Prize in Poetry, 2013; the 2015 Claire Keyes Poetry Prize; Tulip Tree Publishing Stories That Need To Be Told 2019 Merit Prize for Humor; and Encircle Publications 2019 Chapbook Contest. He teaches writing and literature at Concordia College, Moorhead, MN.