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Michael Carlson

Crystals in Their Hearts

for Rania

In the humid still & solemn silence of
A cold English August afternoon
You remembered a wedding in Mexico City, & how
The garden filled with snow, which fell
From a sunny sky in the middle of May;
How it covered the maguey, formed
Fragile drifts against bougainvillea, & hung
For long & frozen instants between the bars
Of the parrot's giant bamboo cage.

You told me you were not surprised
To be covered with snowflakes which did not melt.
It was natural, somehow, that snow should fall,
That heat could disappear & still
Be all around you, that the simmer
Of disease, of cholera, not be frozen & escape
Completely from our lives.

I felt
There was a shadow sitting close behind
Us. Everything we say includes
A sentence that is somehow left unsaid.

Next day, driving through the dimensionless
Countryside outside Ware
we felt
The temperature drop ten degrees
In just an hour. But saw no snow.
This was just a flat & wet & grey
Landscape laid out for us by the road;
As magical as it would ever get.
We said nothing more. Still no snow fell.

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