Late Life Winter
I hate days to come, one of them
empty. One of them has trees with no
meaning however they flower, unfold
in green or gold. That day none of it
matters. Perhaps it is extreme to hate
them all before they have the chance,
for waters to look pretty in sunlight
that is bound to fall, such apparent
grace, quietly near stillness, and this
is my exact fear: quiet, that stillness.
My mother is alive. She counts pills
for her husband who is at work on her name,
saying it again to make sure she’s still there.
This I understand. Is that you? his refrain.
I know it is her, in the kitchen cleaning
the countertops with a rag, in the kitchen,
putting leftovers in the fridge, maple trees
out front agitated by the coming storm
that begins another winter, and one day,
is it this winter? Is it next? It will seem
all the animals are dead. I can’t stand
the fact of it, the blunt blow. The sun is dust.
The cold cannot be cold enough—it doesn’t
break me at once, every word turned ice.