It is not in the bleak midwinter
That I feel the cold
For when the darkness of the dimmest days swaddles me
The indirect angles of the sun’s rays
Soften the sharpness
Of each bare branch and brittle bough
And lull me
It is not the dry, soft secretness of the snow
That breaks me
For it cushions all my senses
And sweeps me
But the dreadful dripping of the icicles,
The slow softening
Of the once firm and frosty ground
Shakes me from slumber
And I awake.
It is the unraveling of so many layers,
The threatening thaw of winter’s end,
That finally chills me
Into a deep shiver.
The shards of sharp sunlight
Glare on the gray spots,
Expose the cracked skin, the crumbling ground,
The dead things long denied,
And I see.
It is when all is laid bare and brown,
That I am exposed,
Facing the unfrozen, the long untended,
I shudder unguarded
Against the certainty of spring.