Winter comes. The leaves must bind their thoughts
to now, or too soon leave the branch.
Where is my commitment? Placed in overlays?
One facing forward and beneath that,
one facing back?
One fine and bright but beneath
are winter’s trees and rocks,
winter’s shadows, winters tracks?
I am the only life here.
Winter says, “Don’t go.”
I say I must.
She plays her light for all she’s worth.
Her clothes of ice and crystal
mesmerize, and my eyes flicker.
She fascinates, she changes shape,
she weaves and draws and her snakes sleep
but she never, never, ever does.
She’s another, other, thing, entirely…
Hands build, slam boards together,
hammer, hammer and all the woods
and the woods’ tall gods watch,
mouths iced over, eyes aglitter,
snapping tight to never-was, almost,
when at some whisper those hands stop,
drop boards, clench hammers.
The man straightens, turns to face her
feels terror between heartbeats enter.
Winter makes Her presence felt, and neuters.
All contracts, signed, on file in Memphis
as of this moment, null
as of this moment, void
the boards, the lumber pile,
the pick-up truck can go to hell.
Her face shows now, she snarls,
her lips crack and avalanche
and earthquake tell
no wrath hath Hell, like Winter.
No face, like hers unmasked.
(Across the valley a churchbell tumbles,
church blood freezes, church feet stumble)
You should not have looked.
You should have stayed asleep.
You could have trusted me too see you safely into Spring…
the breath is drawn from me
…YOU KNOW TOO MUCH!! She screamed.
Now, in this rooming house in Memphis,
summer outside, summer in.
Bare walls, and bare bulb’s brilliance
black and purple paint my windows.
She’ll come again. She’ll shatter them.
She’ll take this ceiling, pull the plaster,
pull the lattice till the walls burst
at her sudden, measured, focused vacuum
but I’ll be gone.
She got the man downstairs last night,
tomorrow she’ll get John.
If I didn’t have the Sight, the gift
that came to me the night she turned,
I’d lie here, I’d watch tv. I’d be a part
of foolish life and foolish art.
I’d talk of other things than endings.
But I am hers, as all are.
I speak to measure time,
to pull and stretch it.
If it knots when I drop it
will have to shake
the kinks out.