Then came a season of treaties.
The water froze and thawed,
settled to near clarity, clean enough
to wash wounds and dilute indigo ink
to sapphire, so that when you made
your cursive tallies they cut
like winding rivers
through the first snow. I could read
your choler in their steep banks.
Felted flakes the size of demitasse
dashed against our northern windows.
Winter was weeks away and I saw
what was required of me.
The refractory oak held on
to her dead leaves even as her roots
became fists beneath the soil.
I could snap your wrist, you said,
like a twig. The world was hushed
and brittle. I placed my hand in yours.
It was marrow, in the end,
that tasted most like justice.