I walked out into the January blizzard,
my breath froze into small clouds,
and ice was hanging from the trees.
The dunes were dreamy animals;
I heard shovels striking music.
White eyelashes, white mittens,
I thought I could become
whatever I touched.
A year before, in another language,
I held the desert in my hand,
I tasted the iridescent sea.
Now I stayed quiet, afraid
I would never see it again, the sky
shattered into a million pieces
and falling around me.
I watched my mother inside
walking back and forth in her heavy coat,
and my sister rubbing her hands
to make some kind of spark.
I could imagine furnaces rumbling
all over America, heat rising
through the vents, parching the air.
And I stayed where I was,
someplace I had no name for,
not for the snow or my standing still
and watching it fall
with hardly a sound.
A big thank you to Alison McGhee for artful curation of these beautiful poems.
For more information about Gregory Djanikian, please click here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/gregory-djanikian