on my father's death
January skies can bend
At times like wrinkled paper sheets,
Snow clouds doubled end on end
So their opposite directions meet.
Just as scallops on a drape
Form dimension from a pleat,
The way the cold wind makes a shape
Out of layerings of sleet,
So we scissor shadows into night
And cut out profiles on the sill,
Twisting patterns into white
Beside the window's frozen grill.
From the border of a page
We trace out sketches, far
Off lives in thin, beginning stages,
Outlines of a father, flake, or star
That we delicately unfold to show,
Sprung like rime from last night's snow,
And hang up finally on the stair
To line the walls with earthen air.