The First Day Above Freezing

crispy molds of frozen dew, icing the limbs of the neighborhood trees,
are breaking, dripping, and slipping off their sticks like sleeves.

i hit the brakes and a slab of ice separates from the roof of my car.
it slides off and smashes onto the pavement.
and when i pull over to check the roof,
the sight of my car's wet, blue paint,
now exposed and freed from the ice,
reminds me of how cold air feels
against a palette of fresh, damp skin
the moment it leaves a medical cast.
frozen footsteps are everywhere.  their numbers are in the thousands,
like bleached pumice, a cacophony of pitted holes and craters,
salting the streets and sidewalks
like the face of the moon.

i am standing under a buzzing street light at 5 in the morning.
and though the city is asleep and silent,
when i listen hard enough, i can hear the neighborhood trees
crack their knuckles,
crunch their scabs,
and break themselves free
from the terrible weight of winter's splint.