for Trevor Winkfield
December 26, 1970

The wind tears up the sun
and scatters it in snow.
The sky smiles and out
of its mouth drifts free
a milk tooth which of itself
glides under the pillow
of a cloud. The Tooth Fairy
knows where to look and when
to lock away the leaves
long since packed up and
left: "I'm southbound." Not
now, though this funny
fluffy winter rain coasts
down and coats the grass
dry and white, a corn meal
shampoo. "Brush it in,
brush it out." Easier
said than done. Things
take the time they take:
leaves leaving, winter
and its flakes, not less
though shorter lived.

From Collected Poems by James Schuyler. Copyright © 1993 by James Schuyler. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux . All rights reserved.