I made sure to walk in the early morning
before the flakes turned to freezing rain,
that falling New Jersey slush
stings your face and eyes with
a hissing chill not yet ice.
But now the only sounds other
than the hush of snow are
a distant truck and my quiet trudge.
Soft, white, cold… newly covering
the world… destined to melt,
but spring as distant as
a promise still unbroken
makes me doubt
death can again be delayed.
Hunkered down for winter.
Leaves all gone and every flower wilted.
The squirrel that doesn’t hibernate.
The blue jay who never flies south.
The neighbor woman wearing
a red parka, looking at her phone
while walking her Labrador
wet fur glistening like amber flames
– joyous tail, tongue pink and dangling –
his bark of recognition instantly muffled.
copyright 2016, held by author