Beneath the Evening Shroud

a poem by



THIS is a rare occurrence by anyone’s recollection—
but not without precedent. Four powdery inches of snow
in late October and already the heaters are churning as if
it’s the lull time between Christmas and the new year.
Like bulky afghans draped over the back of the couch, my
daughter and I gaze outside through a crystalline-edged
window— listening intently as every snowflake regathers
in unique formation, each with a new story to tell.

As a dormant soil, the entire world lies open before us,
and voices tremble with an ordinary and mystical hush.
Our home is grown warm with a conversion of energy
and like a crocus at dusk, my child’s eyes begin to slump,
closing upon their shallow reservoirs.

She wakens slightly as I cradle her unresisting form,
carrying my invaluable love up the stairs to be lain in the
soft capture of her bed. For the barest moment, we exist
in that deepest place, with knowing eyes that ache with
unconcealable euphony. This will become a time in years
to pass, that each of us will not fail to remember. I ask her
if she’d like me to read the old story about the puppet, the
lantern and the moth. She says no, not tonight, because
the world, you know, is already too filled with stories.

I turn off the light, our long shadows disappear and we are
together in a patchwork slip of moonlight. This is the
beginning of a new story which I cannot tell her because
she is already breathing slowly, and unlike the snow plow
rumbling past just now, is embracing a cloaked essential,
fluttering like an angel in drifted snow, deeply, deeply at rest.

Photograph by Med Badr Chemmaoui