Gift Giving

by Mary Alexandra Agner

I hold off as long as I can,

reveling in every rich snowflake,

sipping as they fall, freeze,

melt to mediocre rain.

I welcome in the cold, cracking

my skin, pores pulled apart

and cells slowed as though

I were a plant, plumbing the dreams

of winter in sleep.  I lie

still as ice, curl about branches,

cling with the heavy weight

of hardened water, wish

to bring down bright buds.

This rough weave is the gift winter

makes for me.  I am not ungrateful

but my touch is treacherous:

green-gold frost, warble of warmth

that reddens robins' breasts,

that certain slant of light

illuminating no groundhog's shadow.