outside frosted windows
it dances, twirls, and billows past –
they don’t understand, they cannot see
how this wonderland of snow
affects my still-healing soul,

how it reminds me of that place
that blindingly white world
with its whispers that pierce
and tear through heart and soul
that, even now, sometimes taunts me

these elegant crystalline droplets
dusting rooftops and trees,
swirling across open fields of lawns
rolled and shaped into rounded
men and lopsided fortresses

this pure-white realm of innocence
can no longer excite the wide-eyed
child within for my soul shivers violently
in the chill that penetrates my skin,
infuses my blood, and freezes my lungs

the relentless light of a winter sun
glaring off snow and ice
superimposes that place over reality,
a double-exposed photo come
to haunt, to torment

I can almost hear those whispers
on the wind, can almost see
those hazy specters through the storm,
can almost feel that Cimmerian emptiness
pull like gravity at my core

my heart stutters while limbs tremble
from cold or fear I cannot tell
I close my eyes, take a breath,
and remind myself
It’s only winter.