To ban is to summon, command, or proclaim; to send someone away, as in exile. Skeletons of hydrangeas in the back garden, the vacant arms of the fig. Almost everything has left or is leaving. Soon it is the winter solstice, when the sun stands still and the folds between dawn and dusk shorten. In that story of the girl's going to the underworld, we know more about the seeds than about the mother: how they glinted with color, fecundity, increase; moon-drawn shedding. Of course we imagine a god in his dark kingdom of the barren. Perhaps she wanted none of that other future: the body swollen with its own heaviness, the curve of another spine pressed against one's own. No one is the villain, not even the mother. Not even when she shreds all foliage from the trees and forces the earth to harden its heart. White is the color of blame- lessness. Or is it the color of death, the color of truth, the color of forgetting? Perhaps one day, we'll return to everything we thought we hated, which could also be what we once loved before it was relinquished.