to Cath, Christmas 1986
December skies can sometimes bend
Like paper dolls to wrinkled sheets,
Snow clouds doubled end on end
So their opposite directions meet.
Just as scallops on a curtain
Sew dimensions into pleats,
The way the grey wind folds a patter
Into layerings of sleet,
So we scissor shadows into night
And cut out profiles on the sill,
Twisting papers into light
To tie up evening’s frozen grill.
From the border of a page
We trace out sketches, far
Off shapes in thin, beginning stages,
Outlines of a snowflake, doll, or star
That, when crumpled, quartered, and unveiled,
Return like sun from last night’s hail
To fill the room with solar flare
And line the walls with crystal air.