Outside, February beats her wide wings
over the birches. Her breath smokes the glass
with jagged edges, carries the scent
of foxdown, leaf rot, muffled pine. She hushes
the whirl of Father’s axe against a dead
cedar, its hacked limbs red as liquid steel.
Tonight he’ll tell me more stories
of the yawning blast furnace, coal dust
nested at the bottom of his black throat.
He’ll say smelting was like dipping ladles
of sunlight, heat so blinding he thought
it could push winter back for one more year.