Tuesday, February 23, 2016 - 6:15pm
It’s the first snow of a new year
where nothing is new, and everything 
wants to lug
its turgid body into the flour 
sack of quietude. Even the landscape unfurls 
its fur like the back of a white 
buffalo. Some child’s red 
balloon seized by the speartip of a mountain
ash, a bird heart quivering in the center 
of a coma. And the scare
-crow, strung up on a broomstick, bears 
the weight of his humiliation 
on his straw mind where 
winter falls upon a ryefield, and the owlet sings a 
plain song of despair, its notes –
gurgling water in a mouth 
made out of blue cloth, the same gauze
the silkworms once
spun to fashion
a robe for an emperor, whose men and 
women prostrated before his palace, his servants 
swarming around his ivory 
throne like botflies
around a bull’s flank. The empress wore
her face like a carnival, her loneliness
so extravagant. She patted
the blue-lipped baby 
in her lap the way she 
stroked her husband’s pride. There’s a lot
to desire in this life. But not
these pale colonnades, or a woman’s 
shriek piercing the night 
like the light from a kerosene lamp. She 
stared into her garden 
and saw two geese atop the frozen
fountain, still as weathervanes,
huddling around a silver
egg, that nascent eye, that luminous
larva spoiled with love
given freely. The wolf
-white world just
shrugs, bats 
its infant eyelashes
and goes on to dream
another stillbirth.