She leads, squeezing through barbed wire,
and we climb the patterned column of bark
to the treehouse floor. Surrounded by December,
we trail snow, and leave our prints on the damp wood.
Between us, we pour our stolen treasure out, suck and eat
frozen berries, our fingers and mouths stained blue from cold and color.
I run my thumb down the white page
and turn. I read without childish stumbles.
I can buy my own berries.
And when I want, I can block the frost,
lock it deep inside the oak chest, store it there,
in the discontented winter-- the cold ours.
© Christina Salme Ruiz