When does the snow begin to fall?
I try to witness the change
as the theme of this season grays.
Bolts of felt clouds roll across the heavens,
a basket of straight pins spills into the night,
and I’ve been sewing a lot of gray,
not to be somber, but to sway
light as mist, soft as the winter
coat of a wolf. Snug in my velvet
jacket, fleece slippers, cotton sweats,
their subtle weaves showing—
not that I want anyone to notice
me, to see what I wear
sitting alone at my desk—
I watch the air before the snow,
stand outside on the porch as clouds
turn to whirling dragons, greyhounds galloping
over mountains until the dusty sky cracks
dripping black tears but no flakes.
I go back inside, back to making dinner.
The light vanishes and suddenly it’s snowing.
I’d like to open that door, I don’t know why,
as if it holds the key for how
to accept what we can’t control,
what befalls us, our suffering,
waiting for what wonder or horror
could cause our death, or lift us
up every day, as something sweeps down
on the wings of a snow-white dove.
A modern gospel: the measures
we cling to, the present
we look up to, look out for,
look in, where a chorus of people—
anything but neutral—gives us
the courage to transform mourning
from the dun between white and black
into the silver we want to be
with the lives we want to have,
under the seasons’ guidance.
And the answer my mother gave me
before she died becomes clear:
While you’re in the world now, don’t wait.
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