There is all around me this infinite grey, hovering slightly above and ever so gently around the barren branches of winter.
I lose myself in its embrace, its morning swaddling of all the things.
The frozen soil, contentedly fallow.
The purple finch with its frosted set of raspberry wings.
A fallen fraser fir, awaiting its ceremonial burn.
Such quiet conviction in their collective salvation.
From each other’s need, from the inevitable fire of time, waiting to feast on branches and bellies, feathers and flesh.
Not one maple leaf or cardinal wing spared in its wrath.
Reminding us our fleeting mortality.
Unborn babies in formation. Bluebirds foraging their first year. Entire forests, lush and thriving.
All beholden to this ancestral reckoning. Feet tied to their ancient fire.
I walk further out into the soft grey veil, allowing myself to be held for a moment, freed from the raging gluttony that claimed her, that will inevitably claim me…
*This poem is available in my book Soft With Me, printed and bound in Western North Carolina thanks to a grant from the N.C. Arts Council.