By Dayna Patterson
This day brims with
too much sweetness.
The maple syrup, liquid gold
we’ve poured into pea soup
and red Kool-Aid, over beans,
flapjacks, and sausage links.
We are the only patrons in this
cabáne a sucre made to hold
a hundred. We crowd one table.
Our hosts watch curiously. Our voices
drift up, wraith-like, to the rafters.
Outside, troughs full of fallen snow
flank the sugar shack. We tip our
warm mugs of syrup over the snow
and twist popsicle sticks in the cooling
sugar to make maple suckers.
Our blood buzzes.
The woods of bare sugar maples
buzz with our laughter.
Buckets hang from the trees,
collecting. Others are connected
by thin purple tubes, reverse
IVs. After the sap is boiled down,
it will be served to the next guests.
Our vespertine shadows grow,
interlock with lengths of looming woods
and their woven shadows.
Our heavy boots press into the dark earth, wet
leaves, and dying snow.
The frozen ground is thawing,
turning to dark mud. The coldest
winter of our lives is unlocking.