Our Story in Snow
I thought leaving you in bedmight show you I love you. I'll shovelthe snow this time. You sleep or sitby the window looking at this fresh expanseof white. Besides, I've just been thinkingof icicles, how those hanging from our guttersfor the last month have slowly grown longand luminous. Their harsh beautyseeming, now, like a metaphor for the yearsI did you wrong. I'm sorry there was a timeI contemplated our bookshelf and wonderedwho would keep it when we split. This snowis heavy. My breathing reminds meof labor—four am and us pacingthe perimeter of that cold, small room.You counted and held my hand.When my body pushed and I shatteredlike a mess of stars, or a windshield, or—I never could describe it—you stayedbeside me, eyes shining with fear. I would sayI'm different now, but probablyI'm not. Except I'm here in my mismatchedlong johns with unbrushed teeth. I'm out here,clearing this blast of snow from our stairs. [End Page 270]
The life I live is the one you imagined. Yes, in summer,I pick tomatoes in afternoon heat.I line my sill with almost-ripe fruit; gauzy
curtains blow against a crooked quartetof pictures on the wall. Sunlight's been tanglingmy hair the same way for a decade,
yet there's no one here you'd know. A girlgazes into a glass bowl where a goldfishsucks and spits out stones. Her sister
lounges on the floor, reading aloudthe chapter where wolves circle the heroine's house.In more than one dream, you've turned to me,
wearing a different face. Once, at the butcher shop,I stood with arms full of tightly wrapped packageswhen you appeared behind the counter.
You've shown up in the yard, petting my neighbor's dog.Here, I live my life. The dog is only imagined. Yet,you go on stroking its fur. [End Page 271]
Laura Van Prooyen is the author of Inkblot and Altar. Her work is forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Boston Review, and the anthology Best of 32 Poems. She earned an MFA in poetry at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina and now lives in San Antonio, Texas, where she teaches creative writing at Henry Ford Academy: Alameda School for Art + Design.