Rain falls in tireless ribbons
drifting down from a silver sky
like wet tinsel on a sodden tree.
The cold hides inside my clothing
clings to my skin in thin, icy layers
draws its fingers at last into my bones.
And yet I cannot stop looking
cannot help but raise my face to the mist
for a last kiss before going indoors.
There I will throw more wood on the fire
and huddle close enough to combust.
The cold does not easily let go; it beckons me
to walk farther from home
down to the shoreline where grey gulls
roll the wind from wingtip to wingtip
cycling back and forth, circling, crying.
It wants me to gaze up at the hawk
standing motionless in the sky
I know these things, have seen the empty
shells of crabs the gulls pick clean
the hapless feathers of small birds caught out
in death’s lightning: there, then gone.
Today I study the rose hips full to bursting
with bitter seeds, the cargo of spring.
I lick drops of rain from their red bellies
and tap sly fingers against thorns
as if to remind the sleeping flowers: soon
the sun will be reborn.
For now I heft another armload of wood
to build up the fire against the dark.