It is time to stop making claims and to simply listen. Myths still hang, blood red, on the winter branch; barberries, too. On the lawns blow-up Santas deflate at dusk. I sit vigil with them overnight. At sunrise, as they resurrect, I flee; from the bushes, I watch the young ones dance circles around the restored, cheerful effigies. The dancers sing; stray words drift on the sharp wind into my ear -- hope, radical, witness -- or is it simply the sound of ice, shattering ?
The aerial roots of poison ivy strain the air. Ears also strain the air, often mistaking their own tintinnabulations for far off bells. Thorns make for a perilous harvest.
Tinselations, tessalations, tessaracts -- the cold captures the downward trajectory of tears
as the the world burns, stamping, screaming, killing, trying to keep itself warm.
Close looking (while the eye lasts) rewards the eye: someone's last breath, cast in ice, hangs inside a drop.
But it is nothing but a winter moth fluttering toward its dark death. The darkness, it whispers as it passes, is both inner and outer. You have heard the voices cursing that darkness: a place without gratitude, they cry, they who have never been banished there.
These are the landscapes that cartographers have rejected, whose roads unscroll behind you and, within seconds, disappear, whose winds tear the guiding narratives from your frozen grasp.
You are a broken bowl, a barbed-wire chalice.
Rust and mold calls to the iron in your blood. You stand at the intersection of that discourse and try to understand. It is useless, and a bliss.
None of it, all of it, is mine. Cataracts of wood,
tunnels of leaf,
stained ice, unsigned, given in memoriam for all.
The great that there is something and its mirror image -- that I am -- circle me in tireless totentanz.
Rust (they sing) is as precious as the finest gold --
and comes from and will return to the same refining fire.
Grant us safe passage, as we lose our way.