The robin clings
tenaciously to his branch
and his testimony in the shaded witness dock
to verify that the man stopped
on the darkest evening of the year
and that the horse did indeed
give his harness bells a shake.
There was a moment deeper than silence
as the man inhaled the breath of solstice,
as he watched the woods fill with winter
in the absence of a farmhouse or human eye
that could penetrate the haze of downy flake
and watch temptation form an ugly shape.
“Yes,” the robin states, sole witness to
“The woods were lovely and seemed to speak,
but the man chose to live, not die.
There were too many loose ends
hanging like autumn leaves
still in love with their tree,
too many promises in the snow, ankle deep.”
I put the transcript on the nightstand,
the sound of easy wind outside the door.
Too many have fallen in winters of discontent.
I close my eyes, but still they see. They see
the miles that I must tread before I sleep.