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.