Walk with me again
like we walked home from school when
sticky, yellow buses couldnâ€™t wait
for drama and debates.
Snow-congested, gravid Boston skies
harrowed moisture from the corners of our eyes.
Trees shamed bare of gaudy, orange leaves
stood naked, proud of winterâ€™s clarity.
Breath comes quick. Too cold to talk.
Legs pumped, rubber boots cracked ice, we walked
and steam rolled from your mouth like smoke.
I watched you bend your neck, your shoulders bowed
as wind rode your arching back, your hair a tumbled, yellow cloud,
the only light in a fading day
of dirty white and depthless, concrete grey.
Movements slower, harder as we near home.
Stiffening as cold seeps into bone.
Nearly numb just before entry.
Eyes closed, fingers dead, you fumbled for my key.
You can spank a bad boy with a finger-thick willow switch,
cut fresh, dripping green and running full of summer sap.
Or you can curl it back, head to tail upon itself, end on end.
Go even further, make it bend into the Christian fish;
an alpha. Then let it snap! The tension gone, it rises, spinning,
falling, finally. Lost in high grass by the swimming hole.
That branchâ€™s brother cut in winterâ€™s short, sharp noon wonâ€™t yield
up one degree of give. The juice that lives in sun and rain is gone,
sucked down to ground. It sleeps in rocks. The willow only knows
of it in dreams of caravanserai, eastern gifts and tales of kings.
â€œSoftly,â€ is the wise-word of the willow on his darkening wind,
his long-night solstice wind that shakes the lights and brittle bulbs
hung on the changeless, undead pines.
The willow sleeps and waits for limber times.
Fallen, fallen in the snow.
You can point, but she is gone.
We name the hole the thing. The wet recess
where she once lay. Itâ€™s long hatched
its angel, though.
Wind and flakes have now erased her footprints there
and back. Two wings. Two legs. A head.
A halo where
she shook her snowsuit hood.
The hole is not whatâ€™s real.
The angel is revealed, released and dances now
with cocoa and a powdered doughnut. How
the white fluff coats her fingers,
coats her cheeks.
Winter wind seeks cracks, lifts twists of sugar
and of snow, dusts eyelashes of angels
as we watch them fall
and watch them dance
and watch them go