The bark came off the trunks before the leaves had dropped— the freeze sped up, the shade enlarged, the birdsong stopped. No forest hiss survived, no human sound, no sigh— it was to be the dullest place below the sky. From dens and hides small eyes kept watching out for light, afraid of all the time they had to spend on site. At last the white dress fell to make the earth a bride— observers still and silent, long asleep inside. A feeble glow from through the clouds the only sign— the dark of shade the only landmark to align. Bare trees will wait according to their inner clock, and birds will sing again when sunrays free the rock. Alessio Zanelli is an Italian poet who writes in English and whose work has appeared in about 150 journals from 13 countries. He has published 4 full collections to date, most recently Over Misty Plains (Indigo Dreams, UK, 2012).