Engine of Winter

Outside, December churns on, some ice-bathed
Engine of winter, bending branches white.
The stove eases warmth into the room they built
Together

When it was warmer.

Now, alone

Watching the flame contained by cast-iron
And soapstone, with December looking in the
Window, its stare dark and predatory, he
Thinks of one more

Winter

Nestled

Into this glaciated hillside; the taller children
Already extending outward and away, and
Now alone with the December night, he begins

To see it now

What

Eliot said about the

Snickering footman, more fully; that the time
Left is less than the time before, that each winter,
Each December, is part of some awful countdown

Into nothing.

So now, in the December dark,

He watches the flame burning itself away into
Charcoal, and knows that what is left of it, what
Will be seen ever after

Is

not what it was.

– December 11, 2010

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