January 1920 1440 Grant Clauser

Winter’s heart is tired, the center
of the season something that beats
only when the wind knocks against it
the way a window cracks
when birds mistake its shine for shelter.
And darkness too. My watch, its solar battery
dead for want of light, and still
I drag cordwood from the snow-packed
pile to stack in the fireplace, a glow
that mocks stars. I listen to music
and even that sounds like howls
from the woods where trees
have grown brittle as the children
in the house next door,
so used to punishment
merely brushing against them
makes them fall apart.

Header photograph © Caroline Bardwell.

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