We push the shovel through the snow
to find the walk again, the border
of stubbled grass. On either side,
white banks grow. I can’t help
recalling that winter tale, the one
where the girl was taken under—
some fissure in the earth lined
with moss, lengthening drop
of dark shale. How far and how long
could a handful of red beads fall
before you’d hear their tinkle echo?
Our arms and thighs burn; late light
gilds the mounds we scrape and toss.
A stinging wind pushes the empty swing
back and forth, back and forth— the way
we repeat what we should have learned.
In response to Via Negativa: Cutting back.