I’m reading about the haiku poet who helped lead the Rape of Nanjing. Snow melt begins to drip from the top roof: muffled artillery fire.
The scrabbling of squirrel claws on black locust bark: someone’s in heat. The shadow of a porch column crosses my face: it must be noon.
The wind sounds even colder hissing through the leaves that still cling to an oak at the woods’ edge. I pull down my cap against the sun.
In the red center of a berry-laden barberry bush, a male cardinal turns all about, gorging. When he flies, so much of its red goes with him.
On the snow-covered log beside the stream, the baby’s-handprint tracks of raccoons. A wren above the water burbling in counterpoint.
In one direction, the waxy chatter of goldfinches; in the other, a mob of crows. I go in before the sun comes out—my legs are too cold.
The ground is once again white, and there’s a wind. A dry, brown oak leaf dropping from the sky rocks from side to side like a small boat.
Half a degree above freezing, but it’s enough to melt last night’s snow everywhere the weak sunlight reaches. Quiet but for the trains.
Under a white sky, the small white car of the meter man, and a heavy frost. Two nuthatches are having a frank exchange of views.
Flakes in the air. The weather’s turned cold in time to save the last, shrunken curls of snowbanks, marooned like sea creatures on a beach.