Swaying As He Shivered

— Patricia Gao

First morning thought, love feels gone but I don’t,
paused half-out of blankets unsure how fragile it is,
the thread of dream my hands are frozen to
that I could lay down or follow. Miraculous I dreamed
at all. I stumble in this new life, wanting to be gentle
with memories but crashing wildly, desperate for touch.
Here is one, of big flakes in your canyon. To witness
their brief existence, tumbling with a soft sound off leaves,
to catch the moment they disappear forever into the rest
of the snow. Yesterday in another canyon a new friend
stopped when I asked him to. The canopy was weeping.
As I stood in the thin light of a filtered sun, he turned
his face up at the sharp beads of water branches threw,
as they clung to his sweater, and explained how they came
from the morning’s heat on frost. Swaying as he shivered.
So that’s how you survive in a heartache’s fermata.
I remember. That you could dance in what you’re losing
as it melts.

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