to she who fights the snow
by Sarah Sun
it is winter, and
i watch you leave each night from my vantage in the attic,
furtive fear in the pinch of your mouth, my candles doused and your
gait of footsteps burned into tenebrous eyelids; stark against moonlit snow.
yet i do not care where you go
because when you come back through these timber-framed hatches
silhouetted against a watermelon sunrise whispering by this honeycomb,
i can hear the soft exhale of your breath, velvet smile of lips
murmuring liquid words of stories that still my quivering shoulders.
i can smell mellow winters and brimming pantries,
meadows of pruned petals; faith-welded nirvana.
and when i see the twinkle in your motherly gaze,
your placid fingers reaching out to rasp against my fists—
tomorrow will be better than this chasm that was today—
i imagine you leaving each night with bitter resolve, shaking your fiery fist
when the frost bites, and stealing stars from merciless skies
to braid through my hair and string across this rotten wood-beamed ceiling.
i can almost ignore your scarred palms, plastered tattoos of war,
battle etched into your veins, the evening crescents beneath
baggy, vermilion windows. i can almost ignore
the desperate holes dug among forests of rime, quavering refrains of
clattering snow-soaked branches that wreath our paltry bale of firewood.
it recoils further each time a tear lands intangible; blue lips and scraps of cloth.
still i look and think, strong, like the evergreens.
still i listen and think, dulcet, like the daylight.
still i do not turn away
when you reach with chapped hands and fraught breath
to struggle and coax and beg a candlelight of comfort from this cold hearth,
these fruitless trees. still
i hope and i love and i wait.