The sun, a swollen ruby, droops between
   the ridge and clouds, its glare

across the faces of the steadfast pair—
   the first time it’s been seen

today by the lone hiker or his collie.
   It brings a bit of heat,

unlike a winsome girl who seemed as sweet 
   as berries of a holly.

Though shelter for wild birds in a snowstorm,
   the conifer of her,

whose leaves at first seduced him with their stir,
   he found was far from warm.

In swarms above the snow, crows congregate.
   From barren oaks they stare

at man and dog and, with grotesque fanfare,
   caw harshly to berate

the two for having the audacity
   to plod along this path.

Their shrieks of such vexation and such wrath
   would frighten every tree,

if trees could hear and if they could be frightened.
   Boughs scatter their shrill cries,

each utterance as stinging as her lies
   had been. The sky has lightened,

and yet the sun will disappear behind
   the hills in half an hour.

He knows he doesn’t have the slightest power
   to stop it, or to find

the warmth he wanted from another being
   still glowing like an ember,

yet gladly leaves that radiance, as December
   and the red sun are fleeing.

(Appeared in Lucid Rhythms.)