With winter nearing
With winter nearing, I remember spring:
A fickle March, before my mother died.
Her bed lay flush with window. Side by side,
We watched another snowfall—wondering
At all the forms a snowflake takes: like bone
Turned ash, like milkweed floss, like feather.
Tonight they fell in tufts that clung together,
But for a few who braved the fall alone.
Heavy, wet, yet floating. It was night,
The storm lit from beneath. (My mother’s room
Was lucky, disconcerting midnight gloom
By posing, drapes pulled wide, above the light
That advertised the doors below, where hearse
And ambulance were meant to go.) We watched
The snow in halogenic awe untouched,
Unbroken now, by dietician, nurse,
Aide, hospice worker, laundress, orderly,
Their squeaking soles no longer restless hounds
That whined and sniffed at daylit doors; their rounds
Unspooled at last. And so we lay there free.
We lay there, clumped and clinging, and we felt
That we might never die, but only melt.