Muscle of difficulty

November’s clench. A sullen band 
of cloud is louring in the West—
a low forehead, a corrugated frown. 
Behind it comes the cold drop of frost 
and autumn’s first hard night.

Corrugator—the tightening band 
over the forehead’s bone, 
the ‘muscle of difficulty,’ 
of concentration, effort, of leaning in 
to frigid wind.

I lean into this coming season 
of difficulty, when the sun 
will struggle to raise its head 
above the angle of sunset, 
its bleak obliquity.

November’s forehead wears 
scoured furrow, tension. 
Forgets joy, the orbicular crinkle 
of eye, those other muscles 
to be strengthened.

I think of squinting into the ache 
of snow, corrugated tracks. 
Facing into November, I find it 
difficult to anticipate 
consolations—

the warmth of small, enclosed spaces, 
the candles of memory 
at its center. How can this ever be 
enough? I fear too much. 
The losses. Isolation.