Even the cows looked stunned
after the first snowfall, stepping
to small islands of grass
as if the snow could detonate.
How could it bruise the earth like this,
beauty touching beauty, layers of it, and still
the ground looked like a battlefield,
blotches of snow like white bodies that died
too suddenly to bleed.
We drove on, an obnoxiously large billboard
selling cedar chests and Dutch quilts,
as if the weather werent reminder enough,
as if any passerby would be stung that day
with the urge to touch something
There is a quiet dignity in everything,
my mother said one winter - her way
of justifying her own untapped triumphs -
when the snow was so thick on trees
it muted the block, the wind paddling
snowflakes under street lamps.
The snow is like shattered porcelain,
she would say during every storm,
the undulating flames of the fireplace
taking her over, her eyes nebulous.
I tried to find dignity
in this methodical collapse
of bodies fixed to the ground,
the scarred landscape; to find porcelain
the snow, or ivory, something resplendent.
I opened the car window to find out if snowflakes
burst upon hitting the land like porcelain figurines,
a wind brushing them off the mantle
one by one, the shattering, the scream:
in the car I almost heard the dying hearth
of autumn extinguishing.