The ornaments are off the tree
at last; it's left bare, but not barren.
The lights shine still, the needles
only begin to crumble and snap.
Let us eke out a few more days
of celebration. The children's school
is closed today; cold sinks into
aging bones and we are grateful for
everyday miracles of central heat,
warm covers, hot stew. Later, we'll
cut snowflakes, an austere chain to dress
the mantel. The wrapping paper's gone,
brightness and glitter giving way
to the quiet of snow blanketing
the yard. Stay home if you can,
build a fort of books and children,
light candles. We are all small animals
in this, huddling with our comforts
against the massive weight of winter.