by Lisel Mueller

(my mother used to ask me if I, tucked away in San Francisco, ever missed a New England winter. Yes, sometimes, Mother, even out of season).

Telephone poles relax their spines,
sidewalks go under. The nightly groans
of aging porches are put to sleep.
Mercy sponges the lips of stairs.

While we talk in the old concepts-
time that was, and things that are-
snow has leveled the stumps of the past
and the earth has a new language.

It's like the scene in which the girl
moves toward the hero
who has not yet said, "Come here."

Come here, then. Every ditch
has been exalted. We are covered with stars.
Feel how light they are, our lives.


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