The Dead of Winter

January remains the dying month:
according to statistics the funeral
business counts those thirty-one days
the great annual soul migration peak.

This particular January with absence
of snow the landscape seems neither
fall or winter, dog kicking hind legs
sends browned grass in clumps.

Dead of winter comes to mind,
a phrase a poet surely penned
when watching the clock hands at early dusk,
minuscule clicks toward spring.

Frigid January lows are not
insulated by snow cover and exact
a toll on dormant plants,
the gardener in us must await. 

—Michael Belongie, Beaver Dam, WI