Sunday, December 28, 2008

Psalm of Snow
T. Barnstone
I had forgotten how to say yes. That's the trick of heartbreak.
It makes you forget yes. The voices in my head were not kind,
so you took me to the woods to empty out.
My old shoulder was wired with pain, and there was a needle
in my hip, but we lay on a wide flat rock in the snow
as the intoxicated sun licked our faces with breathing light

like a yellow dog, simple in its joy, licking our chins and lips and necks
and a long wind came from over the mountaintop
and cooled our left sides, and the Sacramento River
wept through us like time, and spoke its liquid foolish syllables,
senseless, sensual, almost sentient, and I lay with my head
nested between your breasts and listened.

Time to climb, you said, and I felt snow-wing angelic as we snowshoed
above Castle Lake, leaving traces behind like snow rabbits
with webbed feet, silver squirrels, prints on the glass of the world,
a little evidence for angels to investigate after that death magic
resolves us to nothing again. I heard omens in the wind, psalms
in the bent warm sunlight that makes the snow mountains weep.

Something was coming, something foreign as joy, a clue
to how to live once you're done with sorrow, a way of being
in being like a long breath exhaled, leaving a trace on the air
before it resolves again to air, the frozen lake, ice fishers waiting
for something great to rise, the mountaintop lifting
its white head in trance and saying its one good word: snow.

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