My little champion,
Staccato-eloquent,
My ventriloquist of skeleton
Stalks, you: fuzz-affluent

Against the broken prism
December dandles when the snow is still.
Shy profiteer of schism,
You preach relinquishment along my windowsill.

Strip! Strip! Strip! You cheep.
The only luxury is in the chill;
The only perch of rest is in the steep
Crystal dissolution of the will.

I hear you chirp in sleety hiddenness,
In occultation most articulate.
The coldest joy’s what you most bless;
In pizzicato whispering, asseverate.

The chirp you hurl defines humility
As something almost savage in its swoop.
Discalced against December, Chickadee,
You snap the frozen seed-husks as you stoop.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 27 Number 4, on page 33
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