before the snow of early winter falls
in its strained breath; a sigh, or a carried call
to the tree-tops, ends dipped in ochre reds and
bleeding towards the sinking ground,
once soft with melted sun
and now surrendered -

before the whiteness comes to lay herself
like a mother hen over her brood,
and lick the neck of darkness,
so blatant in its intimacy:

the snapping of the greens
is audible, nearly
tangible - it stings,
like brushing against
the needles in frosted air.

the blues all wind themselves around the upper corners,
lithely filling all the caverns of the sky;
preparing to sleep, to darken themselves
into velvet, wrapping the world in
expensive cloth

and the stars will be brighter now;
small jewels in a teak box of earth
lined with the fabric of recycled summers
and worn on winter's pale shoulders

she displays them,
proudly and without notice to the kicking in her body
from a landscape trying to break her snowy skin,
virgin and pale,
like the three moons of her gestation.

this is dream-land, tied together
with pearl strings of ice
and kept lucid in small splashes
(the evergreens, the cardinal, the royal tint of night)

this is when the creatures sleep,
in choral softness -
waiting weeks, abandoned
for unbroken green