Charles Harper Webb

Winter Song

After a summer that sipped iced tea on my lawn
past Halloween, then a fall that barely unpacked
its bags, and then was gone, winter’s arrived
like my new son, shaking fists and blustering.

Fatherhood’s hard work; but so was slogging
through each hour, pushing my extinction
like a big, stalled car. When I push my boy’s
blue stroller now, he magically pulls me.

Even dirty diapers lighten my load. Of course
he can’t stop Age from trying to smother me.
That’s why I run outside to seize more oxygen.
The wind is generous; it showers me with leaves.

Its burly shoulders roll trashcans around the yard
as I pick up the golden fruit blown off
our bucking guava tree. My goosebumps stand
and praise the cold. The wind helps me.

My city’s slanty angle to the sun helps me.
My son helps me to see: What looked
like knife-edged cliffs are bunny slopes
I ski down easily. What felt like freezing

turns warm after a while. What felt like fear
is just anticipation. Pain is foreplay to pleasure.
Nothingness is Something New. Death
is the earth’s arms reaching out to cradle me.