The snow's light - Daniel Keene - 2006

Weightless as sound
Its origin collapsed into void

Impossible light of dead stars
Kindled in the bright emptiness

Boundless as a drop of water falling
Or an almond flower

Trembling on its branch
Light strikes her flesh and is vanquished

As real as sparks from a furnace
You shower her upturned face

She is the threshold where shadows are born
Where light discovers its unforgiving borders


Her breath has misted the windowpane.  A small cloud of her breath persists, there on the glass.  Outside, snow is falling.  Her breath has frozen on the glass.  Perhaps she spoke, there, very close to the window.  What would she have said?  One word?  A whole sentence?  She has left this cloud of breath behind for us; for us to wonder what it was she said, there, so close to the window, watching the snow fall.

I have waited in this light I have made no sound
I have hidden in this light I have touched nothing

She was here alone.  No one would have heard her speak.  But perhaps she spoke softly.  She whispered, watching the snow fall.  What sound does the snow make, falling against the glass?  Perhaps she wanted to speak as quietly as snow falling.

I have carried this light beneath my fingernails and on the tips of my eyelashes and in the grain of my skin
I have made no sound I have touched nothing

She has been here before.  She comes and goes silently.  Often she stands motionless in the shadows, her body more sensed that seen, like a bruise on  the darkness.

I have swum in this light as weightless as a mountain
I have walked in this light as immobile as a wave

Here is where she stepped out of the hot bath. Steam rose from her skin.  Her hair was dripping.  Drops clung to her shoulders.  She took long, deep breaths.  She looked towards the window.  She saw the snow falling. 

I have swallowed this light and felt its sorrow on my tongue I have spun this light into a cord to bind my soul to my flesh 
I have made no sound I have touched nothing

She walks slowly into the light falling from the window.  The light clings to her.  The shadows of snowflakes drift across her skin.

I have caressed this light as one caresses a bird in flight
I have spoken to this light the uninvented words of my silence

She is as naked as the snow.  The falling snow whispers something to her.  She listens.  The snowflakes that fall against the window dissolve on the glass.  She watches them disappear.  Her face is very close to the glass.  She remembers snowflakes dissolving on her face.  She whispers to the falling snow.

Light sleeps against my body like snow falling 


She may have fallen with the rain.  The rain, iron grey and cold, that fell all night.  If not with the rain, then she must have arrived on the wind.  It began at dawn, rippling the puddles, bending the trees.  The clouds scattered as the sun rose.  If not brought here by the rain or the wind, then she must have risen from the earth, like the first blade of grass in the spring, stabbing through the melting snow.

We can find no trace of her arrival.  There are only signs of her presence, and perhaps of her departure.  These signs seem insignificant at first.  One has to look very closely.  This mark here, on the frame of the door.  Can you see it?  A shoulder has leant here, a warm, damp shoulder.  The pale wood is ever so slightly darker, just here, a round patch, almost like the faintest of shadows. 

We have waited and watched, night and day, for so long now.  Our numbers dwindle, it’s true.  But those of us who remain refuse to lose hope.

It is her arrival that we are resolved to witness. 

We know that she is sometimes present, for we have seen the small signs that she leaves behind. We experience her absence as a deep longing for her to return. 

It is this longing that tells us she is real.