Along the road to town the thin ice breaks
To pack my heel and sole in rich mud cakes.
Here apples lie that fell two storms ago,
Hid from the crows beneath a lid of snow,
I shield my eyes to view the fields at dawn,
The steam that coats the sky lifts from the pond.
Now matted creatures start to stretch and creep
Whose winter purpose merely was to sleep,
The snow that melted only yesterday
Reveals the shovel never put away.
Its biting edge honed down to lacey crust;
A seasoned victim of the hand of rust,
From birch wood, birds of lighter feather call
Assuring us their here though prodigal
And there beside the grape roots tangling;
The place we buried Buddy that cold spring.
A flock of ravens turns agains the sun
To say it's time to get a day's work done
As I return along the river's glare
To fence posts needing seasonal repair.
This path between two sleeps confounds the mind
Of those more schooled and wiser than my kind.
Each day I take up ax with hands worn rough
As sleep will overtake me soon enough.