This is morbid, but in the winter
sometimes I go outside
with a round-point shovel
and scrape and pry at the crust
just for a peek under the surface,
just to see if anything down there
is still alive.

This behavior does not at all
accelerate the arrival of spring.
My shovel probing under the ice
is as conducive to healing
—and as satisfying—
as a fingernail exploring
a scab, checking if the flesh down there
can still bleed.

I can't resist. It's morbid, but I love
the tiny tearing sound of a wound reopening,
the flakes of armor peeling away,
the warm trickle of pain,
of love's thrumming will to persist.