by Katie Chapel

I watch the wind swirl snow from the tops of trees—wild gusts
of snow that look like smoke, or if I’m being sentimental, ghosts,
and it is hard to tell the snow that’s blowing from the snow
that’s falling, and all that snow from the sky itself
because of the clouds, and I’ve been told just this morning
that you’re no longer in the world, and just last night I wrote
an unkind thing down on the page about you, just one,
true. And then I was much unkinder
about your dead wife, who you loved.
A branch of ice just broke from a roof and slid down in the sunlight
from a sun I can’t see at my angle. And that thing I wrote down could be seen
from a different angle. Now there’s an avalanche from the roof
of a building warming itself from the inside—ridge after ridge
dropping and fracturing. The field of snow shows marks, little pits
that’ll be covered over tomorrow with more snow. The river,
limited by my window moves, means movement, and the way
it flows, it looks like snakes slithering, a wrinking over and over
that doesn’t alter, so it seems I’m looking at water gripped by a pond.
That thing I wrote down last night could be seen
as grace, something which you are in no position to give anymore,
and a thing I’ve just learned something about.

KATIE CHAPLE is the author of Pretty Little Rooms (Press 53, August 2011). She teaches poetry and writing at the University of West Georgia and edits Terminus Magazine. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Antioch Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Crab Orchard Review, Passages North, Southern Humanities Review, Southern Poetry Review, Washington Square, among others.