The ocean is slow to warm
and slow to cool, shivers edges
of winter and, like the lover it is,
cannot let go.
December talks its way up
filaments of frangible shinbones
old knees hang onto and aches
under the belly like bruised melons.
The edge of Prankers Pond
remembers Pressburn Hill in pieces,
flushed worms, in summer sometimes
a shadow, but now is awed in one
circular gesture by slick understanding
of cold and how it means, a sudden
crawl of the calcified year.
The sky tugs on clouds of dirty gray
bunting like an old man supine
on a park bench yanks an oft-patched
coat up hard beneath his chin.
High up under the massing
of the dark stitch work and thick repair,
birds, mostly gulls in the roughing,
ride their interpretation of the day
like radar blips on a major screen.
Closer here, red-winged blackbirds,
at nest protection in reeds
of the briny path, dive fast
as fighter planes at fishermen,
waders, worm and clam diggers,
like Corsairs and Mustangs, even
Spads in the mix of times.
Deserted arms of maples,
once maniacal oaks at odds,
yield screams from their limbs,
eerie punctuation of frigid dance
the ice ache silently embalms
long before a chain saw’s teeth,
before temporary imprisonment
of the maul, working itself down
through an aged core, escapes.
It is enough to know reprieve
after the stunning and the awe
passing under broad wind;
that the days grow longer
counted by a handful of stars,
that a dimly defiled crocus,
emboweled in tiers of ice,
abducted, waits fair ransom,
waits to leap away with spring
now under folded arms of Earth,
and the ocean coming lover again.