Winter Étude

And I had not kissed the melting snows
on the edge of a foreign river, nor walked
yet in the chill of frost-layered fields—

so when birds called in the plaza, it was
their chorus purpled of bells and market
smells that brought me to tears—

The heat that rose from the cobblestones
was saffron and sawdust, mantling our heels
and their calloused cupolas—

And it was the women, old and young or ageless,
the way they bent their heads conversing
over laundry, braiding each other’s hair—

How familiar was everything, at the same
time how strange and swift in passing,
in their utter transformation—

One moment the crisp and beautiful sleeve
all starched and white, the next a curtain
tossing violently in icy wind—


In response to thus: small stone (264).

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