Richard Luftig, one poem


A Grammar for Snow

I who have yearned a lifetime

to learn their names

like a discoverer in a foreign land.

Blizzard and squalls, bands

flurries, grains of graupel

in soft hail or pellets.

Plants also: Snow peas,

snow belles and poppies.

Snowdrops, bowing

in sweet pairs, like necks

of white cranes. Blossoms

that poke through frost

on a March day when

when no one is looking

and then break your heart

again when false-spring

recants on its promise

like early love that swore

to be faithful forever.

Watermelon snow; pink

then red. Blood snow,

they call it in the Sierras.

A snow that lingers, holds

on, winter to winter,

year after year, longer

than we thought we

ever would, when

first we learned

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