off a pink house, daggers a snowbank.
A light clicks on at my arrival and white
turns to blue. Winter, you swear
you know me from somewhere.
You block the exit, won’t let it go,
so I begin a half-hearted inventory
of places I’ve been I didn’t want to
expose. My sinuses fill
with slush, and you and your dark
jokes, unseasonal thaw with a sub-zero
punchline, pierce with what I’ve done
and what’s looming. Winter, I come close
to caving some days. Incognito in wool,
I cross an echoing lake, euphoric
at the way it carries me, even
as my fingers ache, lower lip
fat with canker sores. Chickadees
lift from arrowed tracks
into a sky scraped clean. You say
a fox lit up the shoreline
when I wasn’t looking, that what I need
is a nap, a drink, a shinier
attitude. I wince as you bead
my collar, and like I said, winter,
I’m tired. The lake a scratched mirror
I can’t take my eyes from. Then a bright
room without curtains,
radiators holding their breath.
If showing myself to you
is the only way you’ll leave me,
winter, you win.