My winter hands smell like embers
that won't wash clean.

I'm spine-sore from carrying hefts of wood,
bending to the earth to gather kindling.

My children run in white-fall, shriek at the weight
that pulls thin limbs over their heads.

There's a scamper of tracks going out to the only
road that can take us, it too is a block of quiet.

The ice-glazed branches are paper letters that crack
in the wind. The dog, cozy by the fire, snarls at the

outside melt, ceremoniously nips at birds as they carry
shards and seeds that stick to folds of wet feathers.

The seeds lighten and drop--drop and bury deep
in knee-high drifts as the birds make their way, far.

Our breath makes a curtain we sleep under,
all of us tucked tightly in a row.

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