This year, winter
Curls maple buds tight
As shriven fists against April’s tug. Sheen of ice
On the trough each morning.
Every night stars splinter
Through black crust fishing with
Light for bottom sleepers.
We toss and turn in weedy depths.

On the coldest day of all
We drive my mother to her grave
As she always threatened.
The wind shears my hair.
Steel spikes rise everywhere
Against vandals of the soul.

A rectangle of darkness, stone
Inscribed long ago
Waiting like a turned down bed.
I pin an angel to her collar,
My daughter’s face framed in silver
On her breast, her hands perpetually cold
Clasped on beads of faith. In the shell
Of her body nothing hesitates.

Cold sleeves us, hurried words
Are stuttered, motors purr.
This winter will not end
In kindness but depart
Letting us sink in sudden reeking earth
Rivers amok, a land of living hearts
That clench and loosen, clench and loosen..