Watching reflections on a window at a stoplight’s red,
the world passes all in pauses and lingering waits.
I walk out in search of human voices
but the night is fair and full of wraiths,
in the falling leaves their footsteps linger by my door.

I speak to the wind,
to cold metallic ears of phones,
to myself beneath oaks and languorous skies,
but I haven’t spoken, not really,
no, not at all.

Like a loaded gun without a trigger:

Through dew and mist, reflections blur
and the window asks my name.
I tell her winter has come;
that it came as if a line to be crossed,
a dark usurper decreeing end to song and flight.
Do we dare rise against this woven prince?

Desolation comes too complete.

It comes from alleyways untouched by eyes or love,
beneath toolsheds festering without light,
monstrous shadows gorging on summer’s emptier nights.
It comes tiptoeing on silver feet of mice,
skittering through pantries of your chest
and down your back like ice.

In abandoned garages,
it rustles half-awake in boxes set aside,
scents long after summer banquets
whispering in refrigerators moaning of murky mimes,
arctic memories swirling endlessly for want of human eyes.

The coldness invades the bones;
it enters the heart brooding of unmapped wilderness,
bad news on good days,
hearing bleating dreams blazing down
stars on moonless lullabyes.

Winter comes, even here, this desert land;
there’s a shuffle and a bow,
it’s outside your door, on the porch, in the trees.
There’s a howl and a slink,
it rises from dead ravines and falls from living fog.

And red paint in every stoplight staring out,
waiting for a greenlit go.

Only a song, and the changing of seasons.

What will December bring
but your voice from far away?
No, not you nor your voice;
echo and echo,
snowflakes down a long and lonely line.

[Original Post Date: 11/14/2003]

* * *

Found this old piece and converted it into a poem. Ex-girlfriend at the time was setting off to traipse through Europe for winter break. And I wrote this thinking about missing her and waiting for a red light green. Somewhat lame.

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