Summer Encroaching, Winter Yielding

In  by December 24, 2021
The north wind turned the watery snow into crystal corrugations,
freezing yesterday’s footsteps to catch today’s unwary feet
an unremembered ramble mashed into icy ridges and rough ledges,
slippery but impossibly hard to batter and kick apart

Such were my father’s winters

Cheeks chilled, fingers numb, every breath a cloud,
we fought the cold with love
walked together and resented the season’s cruelty,
stealing the grass from us and the sun’s warmth,
clasping trees in a killing embrace, and
stiffening the ground it would swaddle and bury in white

Such were my father’s winters

Yet, the snow is not so tough,
tomorrow it will pass,
the ice melting away like a bony hand’s farewell clutch
(his loosened sinews, his vanishing strength)
winter dies slowly until the sudden spring
                  a shock like the collapse of a long-sustained wave function,
                  shattered into a single heavy particle
                  by a phone call in the night

Such was my father’s last winter

Leaving me so little time to mourn—
for spring now runs for the horizon
as soon as it hears winter’s slowing tread
a spring ever shorter,
                  a flash of green shoots,
                  leaves unfolding
                  as if panting in haste
for summer’s sweltering touch
raining down heat trapped atop a column of tainted air,
feeding the sweat of endless days free of snow and ice

Such will be my winters, shortened and bereft:
his life ended,
yesterday’s wind-shaped landscapes crumbled,
and the cold recedes, perhaps forever

Copyright © 2021 Jean-Louis Trudel.

Feature image credit:

Depositphotos

Author image credit: Louise Leblanc

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Jean-Louis Trudel

Jean-Louis Trudel has been writing about climate change since 1988, occasionally as a journalist or teacher but more often as a science fiction author. With over thirty books and more than a hundred short stories to his name, he is also a professor of history at the University of Ottawa, as well as a translator, critic, and convention organizer. Born in Toronto, he now lives in Quebec City and writes (mostly in French) wherever the coffee is good.

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