Weeks of determined walking, muscles arched against icy
gusts, have dissolved in an overnight wash of softened air.
Cold crawls up my leg from the still starched ground, but I’ve
slowed, lavishing time on robins hopping amid
a gauntlet of snow patches.
I’m loose jointed, giddy with rushing blood. No longer
imprisoned by frost, the planet slackens with rotting leaf scents
and the tick-tock of water sliding from roofs toward gurgling
storm drains. Corners of every mouth thaw, smiles
semaphore what words might renounce.
We want to believe. But before long the ground will tighten
like a healing scar, we’ll soon again hunker deep in our coats.
Knowing winter’s return is as inevitable as broken
engagements and bounced checks, we horde these hours
like coins to spend in our own seasons of confounding hope.