Early Winter

by Holly Hopkins

It’s not a frozen spoon on your tongue.
It’s a mildew eating everything,
the path through the forest is pulp.

The trees weigh up the bad choice
and send a shunt to amputate each leaf.
A cataract ripens on the surface of the sun.

Still, the moss is more inviting now,
soft spires; we could curl down like mites.
The river flexes currents on its surface.

These assertions can be verified by anyone
with a car, or the leisure to daytrip by train,
or a little wood protected by a local council.

We’re used to waiting winter out
like a debilitating cold. Our faith in spring
so strong we’d never call it faith.

It’s statistical analysis: every year we lived,
that year it came. These things can be predicted
we read FiveThirtyEight! We know it comes,

it must. Or we’re stood in rotting undergrowth,
ankle deep in muck with mittened hands
charged with shifting the axis of the earth.