January 26, 2014 § 8 Comments
Daylight hours were dwindling, stingy,
winter about to clench its grey fist around us,
so we bought a step van from a man who’d planned to
convert it to an ice cream truck, but found it
too wide for Baltimore alleys.
Into it we put: one dog, brown and plain
One daughter, not yet two
a household bare minimum, but no:
winter coats, mittens, wooly hats
and we headed south.
When we reached the Keys we
turned the engine off,
searched out a wooden boat
sufficiently derelict for our budget and found,
a Colonial, built in New Jersey. Just like me.
For fifteen years we went sleeveless,
daubed sunscreen, jumped off the dock
into skin-temperature water,
Afloat in the Gulf, nighttime temperatures
dropped rarely more than five degrees.
We lived and slept torpid in an envelope of heat.
Languid, drowsy, desultory.
In need of a slap of cold air,
of vigor, of rigor, of wide-awake ambition,
we loaded the van with just enough to start again.
And drove north, but stopped where
tropical and temperate wrestle
for control of the seasons.
That first winter we were thrilled
when the birdbath froze.
Ice—what a novelty.
Deciding to stay, we bought.
Installed fans to cool, a wood stove to heat.
A no-joke winter now grips the east coast.
Ray cuts wood every day to feed the stove
wondering if there will be enough
to last out
the cold, the cold, the cold.
But even as cold gnaws the bone of this winter day
I start the first seeds for the summer garden
and the balance is right
of hot and cold
of dark and light.
This is home.