Hello again, Death. You came this year
muffled in late December snow,
strung yourself with pale blue lights,
and waited in yards and trees, watching.
We knew you were near. And we tried
to prepare, to insulate. But you are not
the North Wind to be kept out
by stopping up chinks and filling cracks.
You’re not the North Wind. You do not
bring this chill to flesh, or stiffen limbs—
you’re a stoppage of mitochondrial engines,
the cessation of their heat deep in cells.
You’re nothing, Death, an absence, a gap-
toothed grin of integers in actuarial tables.