Wintering Over by Mark Thalman
I put on my parka, pull up the hood,
and go to collect firewood.
Opening the door, three towhees
scatter like random thoughts.
My breath blossoms from the cold—
air heavy with the scent of impending snow.
Drifts pile up ten feet deep.
Icicles, the length of my arm, hang from eves.
If pipes freeze, I heat stalactites
on the stove for tea water.
Coleman lanterns flank my desk
in case lights fail.
Lifting a heavy chunk off the pile,
which I split and stacked on the back porch,
two Canadian jays, camp robbers, fight over scraps
from last night’s dinner.
Not until the slow tick of snow melt begins
dripping off fir boughs,
will I consider shedding my heavy coat
like a bear abandoning sleep.