(photo to go with this poem on request)
By Michael Lee Johnson
Winter is tapping
on the hollow willow tree's trunk--
a four month visitor is about to move in
and unload his messy clothing
and be windy about it--
bark is grayish white as coming night with snow
fragments the seasons.
The chill of frost lies a deceitful blanket
over the courtyard greens and coats a
ghostly white mist over yellowed willow
leave's widely spaced teeth-
you can hear them clicking
like false teeth
or chattering like chipmunks
threatened in a distant burrow.
The willow tree knows the old man
approaching has showed up again,
in early November with
ice packed cheeks and brutal
puffy wind whistling with a sting.