February in Apple Valley, Minnesota

Winter is a time for death.
do you think death is a bad thing?
—Rumi

For too long I have not walked
in the clear cool air, have not felt
the burn of the lungs as they breathe
in the terrible oxygen. Clumsy mutiny
of toes in the boots. White stiffening
of pinkies, reluctant thumbs. For too long
I have forgotten how this, too,
is heaven, this bleakness of branch
and stubborn rimming of snow that rhymes
every surface with white. Bless
this beauty that brings with it ache
and the opening in which we know
at last that we cannot do it alone.
I don’t want to escape to a more comfortable place.
More and more I just want
to be more human.

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