augury for the beginning of one of the coldest januaries in living record

the day we left dad’s, snow
ghosted down across the back deck,
slowly painting the grey wood
white. swaying heavy
on skinny limbs overhead, vulture after
vulture fixed a black stare out
into the yard at some death,
some dying we couldn’t see.
no thrashing of a creature in pain,
no blood, no movement:
all we saw was the rust of dead leaves,
the bony outlines of oaks at the end
of another long year. and still
they sat, and still more came, and sat,
and waited. at least 20, 30, their backs to us
as we looked up, and wondered,
as we loaded the car and drove away slow.

When it sets in

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.

re: the first falling star

this poem
is written under a gray sky,
looking out, poem-level,
at the power lines & december-naked

it has never smelled heather
in winter; it prickles
with gooseflesh but won’t
let you turn on the heat.

this poem
says: you must make
your own fire. it owes me
nothing. like you, it dreams
in cats.

this poem has no hands.
it sleeps naked. it likes
summer nights and
long walks under the stars.

this poem
is winter on paper,
a message in a bottle
washed upon a cold
Atlantic beach.

its breath steams,
champs, hisses &
waits for us, all, melting,
in the dark.