The moon hangs safety-pinned to the backdrop of the still dark dawn, like a painted white cardboard symbol of itself. Three token stars twinkle around the sickle. I am moving over the frozen ground toward the tent of the sun, the bridegroom appearing, the leaving of his chamber and his blush against my face.
Which would make me what, I laugh.
Not virgin awaiting.
The cedar waxwings swoop in swarms like invading armies, plundering the dead trees of their fruity wealth like pulled gold fillings. They are as merciless as beauty. The skeleton trees stripped and gleefully abandoned.
I move over the icy sidewalks like pregnant. Hips forward, feet wider, steps smaller. My thumbs tapping the tips of my fingers in anticipation.
The birds, the birds, the birds.
I walk to the graveyard in the cold black, twist off a powdery cattail for my sleeping girl and hop a fence. The place itself unremarkable. Tidy. Closer to a golf course than a pocket of grief, with the Buddhists and Muslims and Christians rotting in their separate spaces even six feet under. I am carried on the frozen wind like a ghost to the dogs and their hot barking, "On a night like this?"
I shortcut home in the dark through a blue-white field, snow to my knees, and there, in a copse of trees, is a plastic St. Nicholas face down in his red velvet cloak. The Patron Saint of generosity. The dead on my right, suburbia on my left, I pick him up and settle him in the branch of a tree. He is smiling, one arm lifted. I move to leave, and then stop. Face him. I hold my palm over him in return. Pray a blessing on the plastic, on the saint, on the generosity. That this wild white might sanctify any who pass under the beauty of his hand.