Her eye turns inward, vision dims and movement stills as winter claims her. Thoughts like leaves fall slow, hesitate, drift, rustle, sigh. Frost-rimed remnants rot. Some paler she asks: do you see the sky through me? Do I frame its mien? That pale she lacks words. She does not speak, cannot speak without the wind's hum. Still she asks, all breath, am I invisible yet? Does snow tend steel skies? And when her breath fails, dark branches write on the clouds: Summer is a dream. Paler still, she cracks. Dreams, also, of ax and fire, false springs to thaw hands. Silent now, demands: there must be an end, there must be. Spring, silence, or fire. No one answers her. She stands stark against flat skies, ice claims bark, claims wood. Darkness comes heavy. Sleep for now, sleep forever, midwinter cares not. Neither, now, does she. How could pale wood think of whens? Of thaws and green things? The sun tells her lies: Melting snow will feed your roots, Seasons imply change. She does not listen. Pale she does not believe him: Brother sun's too quick. Brother sun tolls days, and pale she has no more need for hours with seasons. Brother sun's movements are breaths to her: days blink slow when spring is a dream. Sister moon speaks now: follow me, set time by me --- my months are guideposts. Pale she sleeps, sleeps still. Waking her may have listened. Endless winter calms. She invites cold in. Water, crystallized, freezes; cells lyse, die in droves. If spring never comes, pale she supposes, that's fine. Winter is for dreams. She'll dream, or she won't. She'll carry on or she won't. Cold has claimed heartwood. No one perceives her. She becomes terrain's wild hair, a forgiven sin. Would she wake for saws? For axes with keen-edged blades? Would she even care? And still the sun sets. And still the moon waxes, wanes. And still seasons change. Should pale she not wake, venerate her mute demise. Cut her down, cord her. A new life in fire, for pale she gives heat in death. Let this be her spring.
Publish date: Nov 17, 2020