There is a silence in the beauty of the universe which is like a noise when compared with the silence of God. Simone Weil
After a week of latticework clouds, tipped flower pots, my own sorry lot– the world felt pressed down, spread thin, nowhere to begin or end, a hopeless seeking– finally, this afternoon, the snow begins.
Thick and fast it comes. All at once, roofs and road go white; my shoulders let go. I breathe in, breathe out, think of Electra waiting for Orestes.
How a thin woman with deep-set eyes reminds me: the sister did not go knocking door to door, did not demand of the world that her brother come; she waited.
These moments, slow-white, falling, I am in love with absence, worlds clarified in dreamy abstractions.
Oh, half-starved French philosopher, you funny friend, right now, the soundless silhouette of someone like me is offering someone like you an old coat, hat, mittens, then, hand in hand, the two quietly walk into the purist pitch to carve noisy wings in the center of snow.
The Drama of Snow
This alcove was your office that last year, when your one wish was to be tucked away from those who would wonder at tubes and tank, a woman sitting in a wheelchair, faced bowed to her lap.
This afternoon, snowflakes falling on the shingled slope stick like flocks of miniature doves, the cold of asphalt combined with proximity extending each life’s expectancy.
But those that land on the copper ledge melt on contact, as if anxious to return to a simpler state, and I wonder, that last January, determined to finish what you’d set out to do, did you consider minor tragedies, major miracles– did you have time to know?
Priscilla Atkins’s poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Poetry, Shenandoah, and Southern Humanities Review, and are forthcoming in Raritan, Prairie Schooner, and Poetry London. She serves as a reference librarian at Hope College’s Van Wylen Library in Holland, Michigan.