The sun was bright today,
but not enough to keep
the lanterns lit tonight.
Bare tree branches in tangled
knots streak the black blue sky,
scraping the air as they sway.

If I had thought to prepare,
it would not strike so hard
that we will spend months waiting
for a new set of leaves to insulate,
hold, relieve. Here we are, again,
at the stark beginning.

There is a way seasons change
when we find no mercy buried
in six months of cold on a naked hill,
in a faraway country, the only warmth
being what you can protect
in your own mind.

Yet here we sit and wait,
so many years since, having by now
felt all different sorts of cold,
all bleak in their own ways, all things
of survival, building one on another,
opening to the vast wind.

For my father on Veterans Day