The Cailleach’s Season

Winter comes.
I can feel its footprint on my heart.
The sun is no less bright,
but I can see the days getting shorter
in a way I never could before.
There’s a taste on the wind,
a mingling of cold and fear,
sharp as a crust of ice,
newly broken, at the edge of a lake.
Under that, the iron scent of blood.
Things die in the winter,
frozen or starved or torn apart
by the hungry predators
that litter the snow with their leftovers:
tiny tufts of fur, broken feathers,
miniscule droplets of red.
This is Her time, when the winds howl loud,
sharp enough to flense flesh from bone
— a chilling sort of song, to be sure —
and even the alluring softness of
Her pristine white bed
is a deathtrap for those
that choose to sleep in it.
But under the snow, not all is dead;
seeds lie dreaming in the cold
that cracks their hard shells,
waiting for the first thaw to live;
in dark dens under hills,
red vixens wax fat with the pups that
grow curled up inside them,
and every new dusting of snow
does nothing more than veil the tough roots
of the weeds that will unfold come Spring
to open wide with the blush
of radiant, sun-kissed blossoms.

Still …
dress warm. Dreams of Spring warmth alone
will not save fools from Her killing embrace.

[Poet and novelist Jennifer Lawrence just released her first poetry collection, Listening For Their Voices, as well as two novels, Fire on the Mountain and Black Pinions. All three are available through Lulu.]