On the fence posts and shingles primed,
on the spinning, chiming pointed tips of icicles.
There they are clinging to her apron–
she’s gone outside to fetch more wood as the fire awaits its own crackle and hiss:
these are the frozen stars of white reposed.
She is baking and humming when we leave the kitchen
and high-step our legs to sift through the snow–
the call from school coming hours ago.
Until that fine red line begins to form on our shins where the boots rub
(certainly you know that line of which I speak),
we will float through the feathery, sallow sand
with the neighbor-boy who hiked a mile up the hill with his eyelashes stuck together
and his face chapped and numb with happy cold.
Spirits of the dead fly and sink repeatedly
when we build the jump and tunnel for our sleds,
adrenalin and joy stronger than hunger.
But our lunch deferred awaits us in the kitchen,
warmed by things we will begin to understand only later;
hot chocolate and tomato soup,
grilled cheese thawing our cheeks.
Then banana bread of course,
before we send the neighbor-boy back down the hill
where a pair of barn owls will split the air silently above his head
as he makes his way home by the light of the moon.