Frozen rain plinks on the pile of tarps
as I begin the burial
of an unremarkable summer.
The sharp wind tightens the pores
that gaped for months in the heat
and I feel young.
Do you remember the year we met
when we believed our ghosts had preceded us
before we knew the mammoth moons
were only a trick of the eye?
There is mold under the cushions.
It must have been spreading since June
while I sat and thought of nothing.
Tiny black ants scatter.
At the birdbath, I apologize
to the upset sparrows in the buckthorn.
I reach into the veil of ice.
My fingertips bleed
into a clog of pin feathers.
The year we met we believed
the aurora borealis followed us
and that only dogs could see us
and that our ancestors might rise from their ruddy tombs
just to behold our unholy, crushing love.
The tarpaulin blooms,
gives a few rebellious flaps and then
sighs over the summer chairs.
A deer with a broken tine
turns back into the woods.
The rug will not be rolled
and we dance in graceless foreplay–
an impassive, frigid first date.
The stiff jute cuts me.
When it is time to start all over again
there will be brittle leaves and blood
– TERESA KIPLINGER
Photo: Genessa Panainte via Unsplash