Winter Wounds Us

Winter on the Shenandoah River

Winter wounds us.
Stained street lamps bleed light
as dusk x-rays the overhanging trees,
a graveyard of masochistic leaves;
their empty spaces invite disease.

Branches show their stitches.
Their bark, crippled with psoriasis,
dangle above the river’s slow-moving gurney
designed to carry broken limbs to sea.
The bulrush’s crumpled cocoons,
forever empty.

Bleached riverbeds are bald.
Their needles clipped like curls
to prepare for bypass surgery.
Afternoon sun slices the evergreen,
but by evening, the entire forest
will rest on ice.

Geese beep like life saving machines.
The veteran stalks cheer,
“You can lose much more and not break.”
But far away, the surgeon’s voice,
a highway hushed, whispers, “Rush.”

Dabbed cotton swabs of snow.
The brittle bramble collapses, and
the geese take flight, a synchronized drone.
The wind’s parting thrum
signals life’s gone numb.

© 2023 | K.Hartless

This winter poem inspired by my walk today. I’m glad to be warm and cozy now catching up on word press. I don’t know, this one feels special, and I love it when a poem makes you feel a glow. I think this one may still need some tuning, though. If you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them.


  1. Beautifully vivid descriptions! Pulls us right in.
    ‘The bulrush’s crumpled cocoons, forever empty’, ‘Bleached riverbeds are bald’, ‘Afternoon sun slices the evergreen’ – loved these verses 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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