My stage is a meadow in winter
Encased by an iron gate.
My focus—a fire—teases the
Surrounding night, holding it at bay.
The shadows move suggestively,
As they sway with hypnotic motion
To avoid the tips of flame.
I dance with the darkness and fire,
And Winter’s sorrow cannot find me.
Ash and snow mingle, falling
To the ground, surrounding my feet
And leaving smudges on my toes.
Orange wisps of fire seem to laugh
In a companionable joke.
“Only physical distractions,”
It seems to whisper.
I dance on, bathed in tender heat.
The fire turning my skin brass,
The shadows stealing the tinting hue.
Feet pumping the frozen earth like drums;
Thump bum-bum, thump bum-bum, thump!
Concentration narrows to focus
On the movements, the participants.
The darkness evades the fire’s
Light, and I am caught between them.
The closet door opens,
Revealing a space that is not quite a room,
As though a cage, sharing its contents.
Fingertips brush leather;
The scent is musky and wild.
The leather sheaths the skin, contouring to the body.
Think of the tulips that have already
Wilted under the breath of winter and
Notice the frost licking up the window.
The year is close to concluding.
Move to the door to open it,
The welcoming chill wind brushes away
The last doubts and reservations.
Outside it is cold, but the leather of the jacket is warm, protective.
A deep breath brings the taste of fresh air, clean and crisp.
The door closes behind.
Deliberate steps lead down the winding concrete path
As golden-brown leaves fall, every landing a punctuating impact.
Something under the breastbone stirs, breath hitching.
With a shiver, the skin warms and flushes pink.
The sky is a brilliant blue, unmarred by clouds.
The metal frame of a sleek machine blinks in the sun’s light.
After taking a seat and cranking the engine,
The steel of the machine thrums eagerly.
I release the clutch and tear through winter’s hold.