The Cold Descends

From a sky of Payne’s gray
hail stones collect on a patio.
Inside a clutch of women rise from their chairs,
open a sliding door, reach out their hands

for wadded notes of lovers,
albino eggs of robins,
frivolous wine charms,
stuffing of dolls and animals.

Because not one rabbit will be born
in the winter, the women have begun to laugh
as when they were young
and the tides ruled their bodies.

Their sides split as they reach out
from Irene’s house of lentil soup
to catch that bit of ice
that could save them from their age.

-Judith Skillman