If You Go Into The Cold

At 6 P.M, Christmas night,

When there’s no shadow on the frozen ground,

It’s better to stay inside with coffee and cream

Than to risk being seen out of doors in this town.

The weather alone is enough to have caution,

The first things we find are often their winter clothes

Followed, not far away, by whatever else they wore,

And finally, the body, often half buried in snow.

It happens every year, but we couldn’t tell you why,

Only that it’s irrelevant where one’s supposed to be,

It’s 20 below freezing just an hour after dusk

And there are hours more waiting before anything can be seen.

They stagger, it seems, to the woods from the roads,

The thickets leave cuts, which make them easy to find

Following the broken twigs stained with blood

To the places where the victims inevitably lay

An old tree, bent and rotting, where we find them reposed,

Or by the bridge, in the stream, where their skins turn pale blue.

Sometimes they seem to drop somewhere randomly,

And only rarely are there signs a struggle ensued.

What we mean, is you’re welcome to stay if you must,

We’re aloud to be festive, if we don’t leave our homes,

But Winter is the master of the elements tonight

And if you care to see another year, you’ll stay out of the cold.