Before dawn, frost sweeps across the grass
to remind us winter has not let go.
From stillness and silence, a few bird-songs begin.
Like a roll call, each one sounds out to hear from
who has returned after winter:
Swallow? Toowat, toowat.
Chikadee? Dee dee.
As birds take posts in thin empty trees,
the nip in the air softens,
the sun thickens warmth.
My four-year-old daughter pricks her finger
in the air and calls out at each passing trunk.
Not so much “birch” and “maple”
but “dryad,” “ent,” and Birnam Woods
posing to be called up the Dunsinane Hill.
After dinner is set, the moon rises early.
While the light remains, and the stars cannot be seen,
winter sets in among the dusk.
Cold window panes, skeletal branches brustling
against the side of the house.
But not enough to make one forget
that in the morning we may again dine
on glimpses and notes of spring.