March 1, 2013

On swans and letters to you

Dreaming in Welsh   by Temple Cone

The sky is making love to a swan, they say,
And why not, when the town quiets suddenly in a snowfall
As if no one lived there.  Shop windows unlit,
The roads clear of traffic, the glow of a street lamp
Seems to darken all it touches with its thin light.
Alone in the house, I listen to the soft pittance
Of flakes drifting against the storm window.
Outside, a man coasts downhill on a bicycle.
His rear wheel slips slightly as he slows
Before my neighbor’s mailbox.  Through the snow,
I can hardly see if he slides a letter in or takes one out,
Or if he simply stares a while into the box.
When he pushes off, the dark rolls in behind him
The way ink blooms in a glass of water, and I reach
For the letter I just finished writing you.  For the words
Seem fleeting and fallen as the snow, and I worry
How they will sound to you—like the call of whistling 
Or a faint tapping at your window?  But I’ve sealed
The envelope, written the address, even chosen a stamp.
Then I read your name across the front.  Your name
Is the one, maybe the only, true thing I’ve written.

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