Fire crackling through sawed maple limbs inside the stove
warms the kitchen, and snow sweeps the window, masking all
but a graying light as evening crosses the fields and the river
freezes deeper with the storm. Of the five of them, no one
minds the record spinning silent, the lantern going weaker
or the blowing panes. The weather stripping buzzes itself loose
from casement around the back door. A pot of coffee stands
on the stove, but no one just now feels chilly, or thirsty. They stare
at the floor between them, blue paint worn nearly bare on boards
that would creak, but no one moves. They’re fixed, as if reckoning
what measure of stillness could make them part of the frame.
A hound raises its head and yawns. “You want to hear it again?”
one asks, knowing it’s getting late, but that the others will nod.