January sunset, clear blue sky,
peacock viridian with a wash of ultramarine,
warm for this time of year.
Ninety-nine percent of a full moon
waxing maculately ivory white in the east.
The threads of the little black creeks
that have frayed away from the strong rope
are the dissonant wavelengths
of baby snakes in the snow.
The willows orange against
the burnt umber backdrop
of a grove of pine, birch, maple
trying to keep some desperate secret to themselves.
Unkempt, wind-swept fields,
under an archipelago of snow,
the exhausted afterbirth
of cattle-corn and sheep
as if that were all they had to show
for the long hard labour of bringing forth life
as the stars are beginning
to emerge from the dark
as the prelude to something spectacular.
The air damp with the fragrance of snow
as the temperature drops cold-hearted
as the blood in the proboscis of a mosquito.
And way off in the misty distance
at the edge of the field
praying mantis hay-balers
arachnid hay rakes,
late triassic tractors
that look like dehorned stegasauri,
machines seized by rust, time, futility,
that have stood there so long,
patient dinosaurs enduring their extinction,
it would be less than human
not to feel sorry for them
or wish for some kind of astronomical catastrophe
that could make it up to them
without bringing the dead back to life
like clusters of houseflies fooled by the weather.
Lunar lichen and wet leaves
the colour of tanned leather
plastered like poultices
to the skeletal femurs
of a crippled cedar rail fence.
Buds on the New England asters
that will never bloom this side of spring,
moments in time
freeze-framed in space,
as if spring didn’t know when
to leave the party at the peak of her popularity
and over did it way past curfew at the group home.