The circle of German pine trees
My grandfather planted
Was surprisingly easy to find.
They tower, swaying so mightily
In the winter wind
That they creak
Rubbing against each other.
I lay down on the snowy ground
To gaze up at them
And at the opaque white sky behind them,
And am afraid they might come crashing down
Their needled branches thrashing together
Their trunks flexible—
Bounding and recoiling.
The cold today
Was like red-penned grammar corrections
On a heartfelt poem.
After a long stretch
Of unusually temperate weather,
Stepping abruptly into it,
I gasped then held my breath
As I was afraid
To take the cold inside my lungs.
Bluish air rushed into
The gaps between my gloves and jacket sleeves.
Even indoors, I kept my heavy coat on at length.
It is late and cold.
A tiny, rusted windchime sounds.
I hear geese in the distance.
I drop my shoulders.
Towering pine trees
That were young in my grandfather’s youth
Sway against the winter sunset.
Some of the many geese who have occupied the small pond
In the center of town
Fly over in a neat flock of eleven,
The places where their feathers are white, glowing orange.
The ladder of pine branches
Is just above my reach.
Has graduated to epic
With the decent of night,
Continued heavy snow,
The addition of wind, and, just now
Thunder and lightning.
The radiator sighs and squeals.
Outside is characterized by luminous opacity
The edges of things are running together,
All white, with dim densities indicating forms
The sky, the ground, the air and buildings
Are all bleached and bright.
The only contrast
It is the dark underside of tree branches
Line drawings in formless space.