Cardinal

On a day of bone-cracking cold,

with the sun caught in a slough of blue

like a wide-mouth bass suspended

in the depths of a frozen pond,

the dog snuffled the snow

with incredulity, boggled by the shock

to canine reason that made the need

to pee recede, forgotten,

while in pink-cheeked impatience,

I wondered how long before I froze

where I stood and became a

hitching post tied to a dog

who might not go until Spring.

Then I heard the chip chip chip

of a cardinal as it leapt from ground

to branch and branch to ground

within the shelter of a holly,

and turning, saw the leaves shiver

with the movement and shed

their white coat which fell soft

and slow and seemed like melting,

yet beneath, the ground was dry.

Moses came to mind, polished

smooth from millenia of retelling

how a bush burned without burning

and the frosty heart of Pharaoh broke.

Tethered to my frittering dog,

I put off my shoes, just in case.

©  dana hughes  1.30.14

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