Rough pavement chills my feet
as I step briskly, purposefully,
off the porch,
across the sidewalk, and
down the driveway.
Toes curl involuntarily
into the freezing blades,
dewy grass nearly indistinct
in the darkness.
Hands reach up, grasping
around rough, rounded edges,
tree limbs offering helping hands.
Climbing over and ducking under,
my body contorts, twisting
until I reach nature’s ready-made bench.
I sit precariously,
allow breaths to slow,
puffs of white exploding
with every exhale.
Goosebumps rise on my bare, pale arms,
nearly luminescent in the moonlight,
yet my body relaxes.
Tension in my gut slowly unknots,
I rest my forehead
against the tree’s rough bark.
Looking up through bare wooden arms
I see dazzling pinpricks of light
splashed across an inky expanse.
Sometimes they make me feel small,
but right now I feel less alone.
My cheeks feel cooled
by the wintry night’s sweet kiss.
Shivers start to shake me from my core
and I realize
I can breathe once more.