Snow Day Stephanie

Stephen Burt

‘s ticking off boxes, keeping in touch
just to keep in touch, writing notes on notepaper like ricepaper that exists
only for this cerulean holograph,

like remembering to touch
the casual friend on one shoulder, not ready to quit him
though he asked for something more.

Ice on the dormer window cannot touch
interior air & lets nothing else visible in;

the narrow chain around my neck, still warm to the touch
since I slept with it on, props up, in the single hollow
of my throat, a fake-opal oval whose hinged interior
hides, or holds,
only a mirror, my January-born heart.

Of course she is me,
by a Fahrenheit degree.

When my seasons were 28, or 32,
not 64,
she bolstered through the drifts in her
ridiculous astronaut suit, feeling stuffed and immobile,
ready neither to go
out into an overwhelm of white weather & ‘play’
nor old enough to stay

indoors, accompanied
by counterpane & chapter book, ready for more
negligent affections,

like a pool party whose shimmer
tugs at memory all winter,

as, now, drifts of slurred, detergent-colored not-quite-crystals huddle & merge

to clot up the sidewalks and doorways where I
would have walked, in my waterproof, baby-blue, tufted boots,

to school, today, if anyone had walked to school.


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