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Winters, we Watch Snow Descend Slowly

Winters, we Watch Snow Descend Slowly

as pear tree blossoms,
           white bloom after white bloom
tumbling down in arcs to melt back into water
on the tip of the tongue-- children, night after night
   on the floodplain

falling backward in the drifts, arms spread wide
as gull's wings opened to the sea-breeze, then fanning like moths,
       flashlights tracing ellipticals
as if to conjure spirits from the haloed wash of earth.
Who am I to tell them no gods will emerge from this sky
drawn flat by clouds, the light of the town adrift above the trees
like the white of an eye?

Who am I to tell them that soon their mothers will call them in
and all that will be left are these scanner beams of taillights—
            red tracers in the distance—

this field of winged bodies edged out of snow
a field of negative space; this plot of land just steps  
from my back door, a plot of unmarked graves where I watch
the warm sockets of homes click shut
                                                                   one by one,

waiting for the child-self to appear, stuffed in the winter coat
that should be hanging from its nail in the hallway as he moves
from grave to grave, hands linked together at the thumbs like birds

to mimic our flight into the redshift.

The South Dakota Review, Fall 2010

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