The slow-grained slide to embed the blade of the key is a sheathing, a gliding on graphite, pushing inside to find the ribs of the lock. Sunk home, the true key slots to its matrix; geared, tight-fitting, they turn together, shooting the spring-lock, throwing the bolt. Dactyls, iambics-- the clinch of words--the hidden couplings in the cased machine. A chime of sound on sound: the way the sung note snibs on meaning and holds. The lines engage and marry now, their bells are keeping time; the church doors close and open underground.
Still sleepwalking through her life,
I wrap her up
and we go through the snow that fell all night
and all through this Christmas morning:
her trainers barely denting the whitened lawn, her
two strides for every stride of mine.
Leaving her home
to the warmth of the house
I step back out, and see where my footprints turn
and walk through hers,
the other way—following the trail
of rabbit and deer into the unreachable silences of snow.
I can bring nothing of this back intact.
My face is smoke, my body water,
my tracks are made of snow.
The next morning is a dripping thaw, and winter
is gone from the grass—except for a line
of white marks going nowhere:
the stamped ellipses of impacted snow;
everything gone, leaving just this, this ghost-tread,
these wafer-thin footsteps of glass.