Crooks & Niches

We settled into our crooks and niches,

comfortable spaces

and told stories of the cold Winter,

warmed out hands on brazen egos,

stoked the fires of our self perception.

We didn’t ever think

that the cold, dark night

that howled itself hoarse outside

would want to come in.

 

It did.

It wanted to open the door.

It wanted to join us.

It wanted to feel the warmth of our skin,

the heat of our blood

and know the fires that sustained us.

 

So it did;

when a careless crack was left,

the howling winter pried its fingers in

and caught us unaware.

 

While we were sleeping

it watched us,

bundled up warm in our crooks and niches

and it slid its hands

along an exposed limb here

and across a cheek there.

Warm skin,

smooth like it had never known.

 

But the fire;

it wanted that fire.

So it took us all into its arms

and begged us

to show it what is was to be warm.

 

We screamed as we awoke,

frozen and cold;

those of us left to wake,

as some had slept too long

and Winter’s voice howled

through our little crooks and niches

and flayed upon our skin

and numbed our minds.

 

Finally,

we got our fires burning

and we sealed up the cracks

wrenched open by cold fingers.

Winter didn’t howl

as the flames licked the hearth;

he just stood there

with an odd look

and eventually,

he disappeared.

 

The snow outside still fell

and the wind still blew,

but the howling voice

of Winter’s fury was gone

and we settled

back into our little crooks and niches.

Warm, but less comfortable,

safe, but now wary.

listening,

for the howling Winter wind.

 

HG – 2007

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