Winter speaks in passive voice
conjugates brief slants of light
parses out cold stars along a tracery of oak.
Beneath the rising moon, fine participles gleam.
Dangling remnant leaves pull free
to tumble down the winds —
evocative declensions of a season raw, cold-boned.
Split by ice, the pond breathes smoke.
Split by cold, the blackened ferns release their sharded fronds.
Split by hoarfrost, fences drip, refreeze, lean out across the land.
Silent, shrouded by the pond’s slight breath
clear-eyed herons sweep the snow
as if to skry its source —
their spellbound cries declaim the day
and punctuate the phrases of the hills.