The breath of dead man winter’s
by Kelly Vinal
Swirling vapors of the frozen -
Forging dendrites in the splinters,
Bringing rains, the rivers run.
Along those swollen banks we stroll,
To take account of winter’s toll -
Eviscerated, but his ghostly grip still lingers
In the frost that splits the soil.
Then amongst last season’s damage,
Rustling in decaying twigs,
Are little nests defying carnage,
Writhing in the planting sun.
And there I pause, to which they say,
‘let’s go, so what? ’
Because it’s all so annual,
So unspectacular -
‘But, ’ I argue, ‘that’s the reason
To enjoy this observation! ’
It’s a not-too-distant season
When these things will metamorphose -
Their bound-up selves
To migrate far away.
Breath of dead man winter’s faded -
Smelt of purpose as he’d fasted,
Now the milkweed’s in the sun -
And that caterpillar’s fatted, feasting -
‘Think I’ll stay, you run along.’