9. Winter, Part 1:
The First Freeze


A figure whose face is obscured pulls back his coat, revealing an open torso inside of which sits a leafless, frosted tree in place of a spinal cord and rib cage.

This is what ice does to tree branches too weak to endure the winter. The un-sudden growth of cold too subtle to detect, and something somewhere abrupt visits with the snap of matter and loneliness is our only friend on the ground.

My arms have not changed except that you are no longer in them.

The cold in your absence stands nearer and whispers more earnestly. Sometimes the birds still sing but slower.

The world is glazed in ice as the horizon turns pale. The first freeze of winter is upon me and within me.