December orphans the dove

permits growing pains flight

whispers this is why you fought —

in a wrap of bright cerements

weans solstice with a mutter and a kiss

bestows sparkle to ruined promises.

December lends diamonds

spins a symphony in crackling trees

waltzes us to the whistle of sleet —

seizes the ripple in my weary stream

warns a feral life knows no end

argues reasons to abridge the verdict.

December chaperons chill

points out the joy in an ashen sky

bends all light across the gaunt branch —

she liquors my lips with her tongue

allows secrets loosed on a smile

re-pours the bitter vintage till it is gone.

December is a confession

knocking down the tell-tale curtain

promising weakness will set you free —

directs congealed communions

palming our dead leaves as wafers

proffers intinction in a frosty spirit

and glazes gravestones so I can sleep.

— Sam Barbee

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