Suddenly we’ve made it winter. Neighbors
drag denuded pines to makeshift curbside
graves; each stricken exile bleeds remembrance,
rusty needles blanketing the grey and
trampled snow, like seeds in tiny bootprint
furrows. Nothing grows, yet tongues might trace a
wayward strand of jagged silver tinsel,
salty from the stains that etch the asphalt.

Wearing crowns of bold Misrule, we dare so
little, though tomorrow brings the plague cart;
men in orange gloves will clear the corpses,
set things on their feet again. On this, the
eve of blasphemous epiphany, the
cusp of recognition, every night is
this night, topsy-turvy: you and me, and
on those boughs, a tiny hook, unheeded.

Taste a year this night, but never swallow.
Hours—eons—early, truth comes twisted
up in fiction, bound itself in truth, like
Russian dolls containing Januaries
in Septembers. In this stolen season
lies a glimpse, divinity in knee-highs.
Midnight goes. Your hip on mine, so warm when
nothing at this latitude should smolder.

(first appeared in volume 1 of Constellations)