Whatever you do, don’t break. The snow always stops.
Remember that. And every time, in the nick of time, like
in a fairy tale: the rapturous dénouement. Something happens
by, to break the icy spell that grips your suffering limbs.
It is easy to forget, but you can bet your life: unlikely
angels will appear, just as surprised as you.
A white-tailed deer, foraging, will catch his rack on the
tangled arms of your canopy, inches from the ground. Or
two boys, shouting past you with a galloping Labrador,
will test their sticks against your broad white back. Or
a surrendering limb from a nearby tree will bounce against
your shaggy breast, stirring you to a great flapping
shudder, like a dog emerging from a lake.
One way or another, the glorious euphoria. Frozen hours
of captive fresh-fall unleashed in one ebullient eruption
over the head of your accidental hero. The clatter of
interlocked wood unclenching, rebounding wiser, already
growing thicker at the breaking points.
You are comprised of all that earlier storms have taught
your greenheart sinews. Break now, and what new lesson
of surrender will rise to counsel your faithful, fearless heart?
What is the use of such dispirited education, that will end
in a cord of firewood shriveling next to someone’s garage?
Call upon your lissome limbs to bend, and bend, and
bend–another tortured fraction past the breaking point.
While the snow mounts, fat and heavy, across your trembling
back, toe into the thick black earth and wait. Whatever you do,
don’t break. Even now, deliverance may be
waxing her skinny skis and whistling for the dogs.