Nativity

After it all, November sky
over our razed fields,

a boiled bone, a bloodless lung.
Flax stubble, ash and spent wicks.

Thin smoke in the middle distance,
as though harvest was a war –

at thaw the armor will roll out, dig in,
begin again. But then the bluing eastern horizon,

sheen on worn iron, and suddenly snow fell.
Hip-high drifts blown against the garden fence.

You wanted to walk outside so I found our winter coats
in the basement closet. Still holding our shape.

I thought of matted pasture grass
where a deer has lain. Sleeping

spoor of the body woven into wool –
dust, old hair, sweat, cologne. In the snow

we were made new. Snow, a cool chrism
on last season’s wounds. You laughed

as a child can, unburdened,
mouth open, face to sky,

snow melting on your tongue.
Head shorn from surgery,

in your brown coat you looked like a happy monk,
so I joined you. Dizzy with praise and falling

snow, we sank to our knees, rose
again into the frosted clouds of our breath,

and breathed in those small ghosts
of who we were just moments before.