Hermit In Winter
To live without words,
to be muffled thump of axe,
hiss of snowshoe floating over hillsides.
At night the forest air is black ice, so you have to
be a furnace, fueling, always fueling, warming each
sub-zero gasp with your mouth and leathery lungs.
To wear wolf near your face,
go deep as an old trout,
growl out bear songs at dusk.
When you let a breath go, it haloes around you,
gray as the gloom overhead, and when work is done
there's burrowing into the hut's blood warmth,
its door flaps: valves thudding shut.
To squat among the drifts, wailing with the wind,
to call your own cadence of days,
choose shadow over light.
At night, winter never
and you are its heart.