“First Snow”

First Snow

The morning brought a first snow,

And with it wind from over the mountain.

As I watched snow turn to ice,

Invisible sleet hit the panes a’ hissing.

There was soon a crystal coat on tender branches—

Invisible hands pulling to earth,

Anchoring them fast.

I depend upon the silence

Creating a space to remember,

Solitude, too, now to be shared

Only with ghosts

Or perhaps a cat or two.

Inside the crackling wood,

Well seasoned of last year’s split,

The sweet, sharp scent of pine and oak,

The groan of a log as it shifts its failing weight—

I remember your boot kicking it back off the hearth,

Sparks flaring upward,

Stars enfolded by a blazing sun.

Outside the pelting sting on windows,

The howl of winter racing round eaves

Looking for attic-access between clapboards,

The hambone skeleton dance to

Shake their palsied bones warm.

Soon  fading light at twilight

Suspends the day

In a cocoon of white, unfocused mystery.

The night brings a muffled benediction

Over the land,

And memory is put aside for the morrow.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2009

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