When the branches of the hickory tree
bobbed up and down
ripe with squirrels,
and the yellow leaves
circled the ground around the maple,
in that neither-nor time
with the frost creeping around the edges of the
roof at morning,
he fell silent.
his veins white against his ivory skin.
His son, smaller than the hard-boned ebony dog,
swung on a creaking branch
with the gray-puffed squirrels
and wiped his nose on his sleeve
while he counted the days to Christmas.