December Elegy

At the mouth of December, chimneys smoke
our shadows into soot. The crows cling overhead,
wings calling to the cold. In migration their feathers dip

against the rib of our martyred shingles. Inside, people swallow
their last suppers, wave goodnight to the vagabonds
they welcomed as visitors. Only we know

warmth can only last as long as our bodies do,
that the stockpiles will thin in growls of hunger
we have christened into home. I am trying to remember

the blood of Mama’s dahlias before the frost—
how they glistened & glowed in the winter light.
In this season of subtraction, color is the native synonym to cold,

hurting & hollowing our tongues into submission.
As always, I mistake blue for bruise, black for lack.
Even the sun empties, shorting yellow for yell;

its screams muffled by morning’s pale warmth unspindling
into lampshade. How I have only ever seen yellow
as a cry for help, a warning to wound. At night the moon wanes,

boning away its sole source of light. I wander through its phases,
searching for the crumbs of faith that its lunar white
will return. Somewhere, a girl like me will leave herself;

confirmation that faith is not forgiveness but rather forgetting
that all the colors have fled from this year to the next.