Frost Heave
Matthew Wimberley

All the bare trees
blush in a sepia light

and the air is thick with dust
as the world edges out.

Night fog dives and rises hour
after hour across the face

of Big Yellow Mountain
until at last, from below, shadows

flit to the pulse of stars. No sound
just wind as it tugs

at shoots of evergreen trees
which sway like chimes. It's winter

and stars know their place
in the dark velvet of the cosmos.

A river cuts down the gorge
away from rim-rock. Systemic ice glints,

and in the underbrush,
melts and refreezes from dappled light

above. Water obeys its motion
as blood obeys its circuit

to and from the human heart. The dark
is cold and smells of broken twigs.

Not just smells, an aroma of wintergreen
wafts from a snapped birch

and wet grass turns
to spires. Our breath

breaks apart the atmosphere
like the sun's ions

on ice. You've never slept under
the stars before. Bone colored tendrils

stagger like loose skeins of yarn
against our backs. You scan

a horizon which romanticizes itself
more than words or a photo

could ever capture. A hoot owl
watches a rabbit run

out onto the frozen surface of a pond.
It tiptoes across the cracks
and doesn't wonder
if the world will fall apart.

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