This morning is tomb-dark.
It’s not till eight that brackish dawn
And the crow’s coarse, “Hark”
Announce daylight and the day’s work;
Till then shadows yawn.
But at six, the grave’s stillnessAnd snow-fingered air
Grope the dark with an embalmer’s care;
Outside, a robin coughs with illness,
Ice flakes fall like cut hair.
The window’s breath-encrusted,Tap water runs freezing on skin,
Clothes are damp-musted;
Landing air is frost-bound, rasping
Faces like tin.
One day, ungainly in darknessWith a lank head,
Chilled and gripping the sheet's cold spread,
I’ll lie long, for death’s impress
Will have harried my bed.
====================© December 2013