Staring Into Winter
Supposing life was briefly
hung aloft by air and wing
with purposed strokes he would
have held the sun upon his back
straining with each downstroke
in a race across the planet
headwind like a cool embrace
before him in the curving of the world
climbing heaven in a summer arc
–is freedom balanced to enduring snow in wave on wave, birds
gathered on the ice or do they mourn
this standing down upon a plane of white
staring into winter?
Lay white upon this country!
primeval as the firs
howling traffic with the gods
upending ordered norms
this wildness on a jet stream
pouring through the cove
feeding more than idyll
and it burns me to the bone.
Blue heron slow moving grace
steps across the cove distinguished
among the ducks and seagulls
patrician taller than the rabble
northern geese, their flanking line
downed between the whiteouts
train run south these late ones
still in transit done with honking
give the local noble berth
they cluster by the turnstile
on their temporary platform
more snow’s due by midnight.
All birds equal on the ice
balanced on a glaze
unprotected from the way the winter
steals the warmth of light, it freezes souls
still falling snow above, beneath
deep burrowed fish and silence.
Sheltered on a sudden plain
as prey they know these rules
as do our cousins to the wolf
snow flecked statues staring
whence they’d come
the flock an easy sprint offshore
birds their fellow refugees
from winter’s home, from plains
so vast the sky’s stretched taut
and love is moaning wind.
This winter is a mourning
for one who never learned to fly
the ones who did, their standing
days in vigil in the drifts
the summer came at such a cost.
This 50s den with one lite glass
the winter penetrates, it steals
away a campfire’s heat
–face the night and turn away.
How thin this edge of silicone
all that lies between, to be
this fragile. Bury me!
beneath the white this perfect
weight beneath a freezing sky.
Winter howls, the sky and
ground have been rejoined
an icy brother to that older
king is playing on bare skin
the sky’s cold tears.
Card games slapping deuces
missing royals playing minors
pretending time is passing, wishing
all this world would melt away.