Soon It Will Snow But The Stars

Soon it will snow but the stars,
this moment, are small bundles strapped
to the immigrant's back. Castanets of the deaf,
they are soundless, thin as the yellowing skins
of onions. One star. Then sixty. A thousand,
until there are ten thousand damselflies
washing over the sleek, Biblical shore
in perfect disorder.

Theirs is the light of salted cabbages. Their solitude,
the solitude of old men whose children forget them.

Soon it will snow and the spaces between each slow-burning
star become those spaces in our lives which aren't exits
but entrances.

Neither impatient nor lonely, each star in its own time,
receding, as when, after fishing all night,
my lover released his limit of caught bass, easing
the amber-finned bodies into the pond
where they melted like snowflakes, like that sadness
of a summer not quite over.

Gayle Elen Harvey is a native of Utica, New York, where she works as an artists' model and a data entry clerk at Faxton Hospital.

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Sojourners Magazine February-March 1994
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