The morning comes frozen
to the ground, trees like old men
bent with the burden of their bones;
no birds, only sun and ice:
an exhibit cased in glass,
nature in museum postures,
the gravel road in rhinestones
like Las Vegas. You want to say
“Beauty,” but what kind of beauty
is this, where the thing itself
disappears into the display
and every edge has teeth?
The glare fills to stupefaction
like the shine on a ballroom floor,
all you can see bound in light.
A breeze rises and bits of the sky
fall like glass at your feet.
You pick them up, half cylinders
like the insulation you cut
from wire installing a fan.
The air smells of electricity.
A tree has toppled across the lane;
its roots, black and tangled,
reach for you. Others, shorn
of branches, offer their wounds.
One limb has opened a gash
in the barn. Flocked with hay,
it fills two stalls and parodies
Christmas. Power lines, emptied
of their fireworks, snake toward
grizzled cattle in white stoles,
who nuzzle the fence for food.
To them, nothing has changed.
Surely others lie bound to the earth
that fed them. In a day or two,
when this carnival has pulled stakes
and melted away, you will begin
the work of making do: take stock,
cut your losses, repair the barn,
cart off the dead; and in spring,
with its green pretense all is well,
you will learn to live with less.