I drive home each day to winter

(he waits for me beneath a mountain)

and each day as I drive I watch (small) gods go by till my eyes turn cold

I see the creeks run brown and heavy, leaves drowning in the froth

I see the grass turn brown as well, a seeping stain across the green

I see the horses in the fields with their coats thickening in the same wind that bares the trees

I see forests full of red and orange fade to pale and naked white

I see their red and orange crowns lying in their roots, squirrels tumbled in them, frantic.

Winter has a beard of permafrost and hair of dead and tangled vines

His eyes are frozen ponds, reeds trapped beneath the ice, his lips small glacial fissures.

When I rest my head against his chest, his heart is still

It only beats in spring, when his pulse quickens and green shoots ring his forehead like an earthy halo.

I call him my Jack Frost, smiling like the princess who fell in love with the polar bear by night in the bitter north

I met winter in Autumn by a mountain lake, while

He was breathing the first storm into the valley.

He took my hand and led me to a palace made of ice and sky

and my car was spun with frost the next morning in the blue

as I drove back down the mountain highway to the city.

That night it snowed as I drove back

and back

and back

driving home again to Winter