Across the dead gray landscape of January
and February’s somber slate skies,
the grating complaint the blackest birds
lodge with steel-wrapped winter is the only
natural sound breaking the creak
and snap of wind bending these boughs
turned old by too many seasons’ snows.
Just when the cruelest month
nearly claims my spirit, the trees
begin to bleed drops of cardinal
from limb to limb and back again.
Urgent six-note melodies perch
on maple and pine staffs, breaking
the monotonous drear and crows’ atonal rasps,
as redbirds flit and spatter a transfusion
of warm hope into this frozen heart. Here,
place your hand on it and feel ice crack
and new life fight to trickle within.

© Joseph Hesch

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