—After Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself 52
The puffed-up mockingbird examines me from a naked redbud branch…
He wonders at my lavender balaclava and my mouthless face.
I too am buffered by cloud-gray, I too am inimitable,
I save my carefree flights for gentler winds.
As the kosher-salt crust atop the drifts glints at me,
Its false solidity tempting my descent to the lake,
I freeze like a cotton-tail in a hungry fox’s sights.
I soften in this midday sun’s six-degree tincture,
I feather my sighs in vapor, hovering, lenticular in the frozen blue.
I unstop myself and sublimate the song of warming snow.
Watch overhead for my white-banded blaze.
You might not think my pale trills bear repeating,
But I will foster your purest tenors regardless,
And steel and sanctify your voice.
Seeking my contours within the sedge come artlessly,
Listening for my cleverest Cooper’s-Hawk call accept my silence,
The winter I weather nests also in you.