Not the cruel winter wind that slaps the cheek.
Not the icy sidewalk, that tries to break us.
During these grave days,
even when the sun is bright, it offers little heat.
It is late afternoon, and twenty-below.
My mother has been through many hard deaths,
she has every right to be bitter.
Instead, she says, Find one thing, beautiful, every day.And stay in the present, daughter, stay in the present.
Right now, she’s sitting at the kitchen table,
in seventh heaven and on cloud nine,
while she tells me of her new companion.
I have seen my mother’s cardinal.
He’s wrapped in red ribbon, perched on a mound of fresh snow.
He doesn’t sing, he whistles.
From the cold silence, whether by choice,
or by contrast, he reminds us,
even winter has a heart.
He’s got a lively red mohawk, he wears a black scarf,
and he comes to visit her every day
(most days, more than once).
When he comes to feed,
he makes her laugh, spilling seed all over the deck.
There is no one who loves him more than she does.