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Winter (Mirror)

for Joe Brainard

When the windows

are silent and

thin as language,

snow falls into

rifts and valleys.

Everything changes,

even the trees

cease their breathing

in the smooth

night air. The

one world shines.

As a hand

draws aside its

exponential curtain,

the only no

spoken the length

of the sequence

knows its mind.

The temper of

water waiting for

its shape in

the unrelenting

rush of things

in their freezing.

The vacant shuttle

returning to earth,

its voices heard

on last year’s

tapes, these signs

also lurching out

to history, where

the unnerved god

sleeps on its back.

In that secret

place, one simple

branch strict with

attention lashes at

your eye. Thank

appetite for heaven

and also the

singing’s late green

leaves, thin in

the flurry, where

the deepest houses

sink and bright

smoke rises. Not

this and not

that, not even

winter asking what

you’re after on

a brief afternoon,

which of course

is pale in

cold porch light.

To be without

speech the solitary

staging: a touch

after dying or

breath in its

harness turning and

turning. There is

nothing the sun

cannot explain,

nothing too clear

for ice of

mind steeped in

its season like

body and desire,

tree and belief.

from Winter (Mirror)Find more by Paul Hoover at the library

Copyright © Paul Hoover
Used with the permission of Flood Editions.

Published in Paul Hoover Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.