All winter the days will grow– into winter’s death
Where light and darkness equal out.
Penultimately just nine days in it serves us
To pretend the end of anything–
So make your list. Sum it up
Like any cat lifting its tail to spray
Against the furniture. Already the leaves
Hiding like a punchline to a joke not yet told
Are laughing at how quickly the living forget
The cold, the weird verse of numbing wind
I hear in my mother’s painting of snow
And sunset, starlings on the highest branches
Of black walnut, as light as the best and worst
Of any year, as gone as the dead who won’t come back.