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Posts Tagged ‘winter’

One Friendship

—for Kyra

 

walking the icy hill

every step a triumph—

and us,

crazy enough

to walk it together

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Reading seed catalogs

on an eight degree morning,

how improbable they look,

those royal chantenay carrots,

those pink seashell cosmos,

those bright sugar snap peas,

so greenly dangling.

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Believe me, the bon bons are even better

than they look from the audience.

Mother Ginger has made them

with something far sweeter

than Belgian chocolate,

sweeter than old fashioned caramel.

 

And the snowflakes that fall

at the end of Act One,

they are the best kind of snow—

the kind that never melts

and never make you cold,

the kind that glitter and shimmer and shine.

 

Believe me, it’s hard to leave.

 

Before the final curtain’s drawn,

I wave goodbye and smile,

and the golden sleigh

carries me off stage right

as the Nutcracker Prince

waves goodbye and the Sugar

Plum Fairy blows me a kiss.

 

Believe me, it never gets better than this.

 

Every time I wake the next morning,

I look at myself in the mirror and notice

the diamond tiara is gone,

my white gown hangs rumpled,

a lily left out of water too long.

 

Don’t cry, I tell myself. Don’t cry,

though the tears start

to sting in my eyes. Don’t cry.

I tell myself, soon enough

my parents throw the big party again

and Fritz will wail on that blasted trumpet

and Drosselmeyer will bring me

my slender prince, disguised

as a nutcracker, and I will travel

through the strangest dream,

the most wonderful dream,

though I swear it is real.

For over a hundred twenty-five years,

it’s happened so many times

how could I not believe it?

 

And though I have always

managed to kill the king of the mice

just before he stabs my prince,

every time I fear this will be the time

I will miss with my shoe and

I’ll lose my prince forever.

And every time they push my sleigh

off stage, I pray it will stop

before it reaches the curtains,

pray that this will be the time

I get to stay. This will be the time

I wake to see the prince’s face,

and he’ll beam as he waves his hand

toward the window where the snow

is falling, catching the light,

and the symphony plays on,

a lilting waltz that spirals through

the applause, through dawn.

 

 

 

 

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Concentric

 

 

 

See, I want to say to my son. See

how the pond has frozen in thick,

 

continuous curves. See all the lines,

how they ring each other, like dozens

 

of tiny orbits. I want to show him

the marvel of it all, but he is too old

 

now for marvels, or perhaps too young,

the precise age where beauty is boring.

 

And so I take the child of myself to the pond

and show her the rings. I resist the urge

 

to explain how the meltwater formed them,

how surface-tension forces make liquid melt

 

cling against the lower parts of the ice.

Instead, I let her gaze at the miracle,

 

trace the concentric bands with her fingers.

How curious the rings are, like frozen halos

 

that fit enormous angels. How astonishing

in their design. Just wait till I show her

 

we can walk on it, too. I let her amazement

become my own, our feet slipping

 

across the smooth surface, our breath

rising in white ephemeral curls.

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they said snow—

in the yard, drifts of gray juncos

and heaps of all that isn’t

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the seed company sends their catalog

with 162 full-color pages of vegetables ready

 

to harvest. From snap peas and bush beans

to shallots and quinoa, plus every shape

 

and curl of leafy green—red ursa, red ruffled,

red Russian, Bolshoi. This is the same night

 

my son asks me as he falls asleep to explain

the difference between science and religion.

 

One, I say, is based on fact. The other,

I say, is based on faith. Though tonight,

 

as the temperature falls below ten,

and I regard the carrots, dark orange

 

and almost glowing off of page 29,

I begin to wonder how different

 

the two really are. I notice how the promise

of a slow-bolting, scab resistant

 

varietal sounds like a psalm I love—

the Lord, it says, will keep you from all harm—

 

and I look at the Royal Chatenays

and the Yaya Nantes and say out loud

 

to the dark kitchen windows and

to the cold winter air, I believe, I believe.

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One Brilliance

 

 

frost in the dried weeds—

sometimes it takes the cold

for things to find their shine

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Quietly

There is snow

all around us now

and no tracks leading

from the house

into the wood,

into the white—

Please, I need

to walk in snow

and have beside me

you, there’s something

that the winter

wants to teach us,

I don’t know

what it is, but

it’s not only about

the cold, not only about

the way that some things

seem to disappear.

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Poor violets don’t know any better.
They only know it’s been warm for weeks
and the grass is greening and the frost is gone
from the soil. It’s uneasy pleasure, watching
their small blue faces appear so early this year.
Part of me does not want to enjoy them—
the part that longs for cold, for snow,
for the winter that has not come.
One day, there will be nothing left to say.
For now, there are violets blooming
outside the kitchen door. They are beautiful,
nodding in the breeze, no matter
which direction the wind blows.

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Come, Wind

I am starving for winter.
There is too much bloom in me.
Tuck me into the season of emptiness
and shadow and deep, unfathomable snow.
Teach me to be unrecognizably myself,
the everything that isn’t, the generous
space between. Between what?
Let there be no one here who knows
how to answer. Let the wind reshape
anything it finds.

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