Ice halos every bare bedraggled tree.
Garden withers out of sight.
The box-hedge browns but holds its shape.
Along the fence sprout tiny pines,
all ghosts of Christmas past,
green candles flamed by sun.
Morning rays glisten off snow mounds,
melt the flakes on bedroom windows.
Out of warm flannel sheets,
a family emerges,
a yawning but instructive lesson
in how bodies come to be.
The father wobbles and looms
above all others like a bewhiskered moose.
The mother follows in his shadow,
a trail of trembling bones, chilly breath,
on course for the thermostat.
Children trampoline bounce
to cold, unfriendly floor,
dare the weather to slow their progress.
The life in fields, in woods, is sporadic,
maybe a hare, its coat winter white,
or a squirrel burrowing aimlessly
for its forgotten cache.
But the people lead,
fill the spaces of the house
with cheery voices, clattering kitchen sounds,
the hiss of water boiling,
the rattle and reward of cranked-up radiators.
The scramble for survival is on outside.
Inside, the comfort can barely contain itself.
A woman kisses, a child hugs...
I have this moment on good authority