even sunshine can be bitter, cold
as we stretch and smile,
bundled in boots and memories, strung
out like Christmas lights in February
swaying in a fragile air.
There is a quiet intensity
to every breath blown;
hunkered in our heartbeats, we
sip only warm things, tasting
the pulse of a new year.
it is just past Christmas,
and the air smells strangely like salt,
as if we were the sea, or had been
crying for days.
fog steams from the folds
and valleys of my father’s house; we
rake gravels back
into the drive—
the hard little memories
of snowploughs past—
tidying up edges, sweeping
aside leaf mould and the damp
with calloused hands.
isn’t this always
how it is at year’s end?
i am almost listening
for the squawk
of some new thing
wherein i grow cozy in the glow of lies,
my skin safe, my breath a purr even
as fall falls, the skies deepening their blue:
cornflower, cobalt, sapphire; darken
to the slate of reckoning season, & i
have counted these shades before—
they are a luck charm to hang
over the headboard, a warding like the spray
bottle i use on the cat. our river spills
its tears over burnt summer
banks, burying the rocks in their sea-dreaming,
making bitter waterfalls of our riverpaths.
the gutters overflow, seeping into the walls,
leaving stains in the corners around the bed
where i watch the season change by the fade
of its tan lines.