|All dressed in snow and holly and berries for the season...
|Stanza goes foliate!
Nails tingle in boards, freezing in the grain,
And the whole house struggles to conjure some
Swaying rootedness, rampire and bulwark
Against invader cold and winter’s gusts.
Outside, the still-living limbs comb and catch;
Migrant months ago all leaf-freight tumbled
South to mulch—and so this naked writhing
With no green hands to stem the streams of air.
In the heaped bed, your hazel eyes yawn black,
Staring into the night, at pale tossings
Past the windowpanes, as the winds shiver
The glass, playing it like an instrument.
I lie down by your side to whisper how
Inside each weathered length of sawn clapboard,
—More than two centuries old, that harvest—
Sleep rings of years, the memory of trees.
Wood will remember how to stand in brunt
Of freeze and gash of winds, to dance, to tack
Like a grove of chestnuts sailing the breeze,
Bringing the cargo of us to shores of dawn.
And when you drift away from me, I lie
With eyes open to the rule of darkness,
Hearing the cold withdrawing of the nails,
Watching branches sweep the prickles of stars.
Your breath is pulsing on my cheek, and I
Shift closer, pushing away all winter thoughts,
Letting each die, alone, in the chilly room
Like a stranger who lacks my harbored joy.