I sink to my thighs in snow.
January’s cold squeezes my bones.
I hold my lantern higher,
the flame flutters and I stagger on.
When I open my mouth,
my voice is small and muffled.
But I direct my words to the mountains,
to their peaks, where I imagine Death
sits peacefully, watching his children
fumbling through the cold season.
Can you forget about me for a little while, Death?
Can you close your eyes, put your fingers deep
in your ears and wait…
wait until a few more winters
have been and gone?
I am young. I am burning with wonder.
I have a throat full of whispers still to be shared,
and a belly that has yet to hold life.
I am curious about the anatomy of trees,
about the science of why the sea in this part
of the world freezes. I need more time.
Please, Death, if you must take tonight,
take the wolf I passed, the one dying in the fortress
of the forest, with the blossom of barbed wire
around it’s back legs, and the infection
too complicated to reverse. I looked into its eyes
Death, and they begged for your coming.
Please, Death, I sight my cabin in the distance,
there, that smudge on the horizon.
Please, Death, I am almost home.