by Catherine Chandler
December at this latitude is stark,
the woods a snarl of black and brown and gray.
By five o’clock the west’s already dark.
On the sandpit pond, now set along its edges,
straggling greylags land then hie away
while redpolls huddle deeper in the hedges.
Whitetail forage in the field and browse
on brittle forbs untouched by moldboard plows.
Then every year, around this time, a stream
loosens from the underlime of summer’s
stranglehold. And when the morning steam
dissipates above the flinty bed
like idle gossip or unfounded rumors,
a song arising from its fountainhead
trips over still, impenetrable stones
into my house, my heart, my blood, my bones.
It babbles things which in July lie laden
with sunny dispositions; things that cry
out from lengthened shadows; things forbidden;
of many-splendored things; of things that wilt,
weep, bleed and ultimately die.
And though the rivulet retreats to silt
come spring, it sings me all I need to know,
flanked though I be by behemoths of snow.