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Our Story in Snow, and: Decade
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Our Story in Snow

I thought leaving you in bed
might show you I love you. I'll shovel
the snow this time. You sleep or sit
by the window looking at this fresh expanse
of white. Besides, I've just been thinking
of icicles, how those hanging from our gutters
for the last month have slowly grown long
and luminous. Their harsh beauty
seeming, now, like a metaphor for the years
I did you wrong. I'm sorry there was a time
I contemplated our bookshelf and wondered
who would keep it when we split. This snow
is heavy. My breathing reminds me
of labor—four am and us pacing
the perimeter of that cold, small room.
You counted and held my hand.
When my body pushed and I shattered
like a mess of stars, or a windshield, or—
I never could describe it—you stayed
beside me, eyes shining with fear. I would say
I'm different now, but probably
I'm not. Except I'm here in my mismatched
long johns with unbrushed teeth. I'm out here,
clearing this blast of snow from our stairs.


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 quartet
of pictures on the wall. Sunlight's been tangling
my hair the same way for a decade,

yet there's no one here you'd know. A girl
gazes into a glass bowl where a goldfish
sucks and spits out stones. Her sister

lounges on the floor, reading aloud
the 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 packages
when 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.

Laura Van Prooyen  

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.

Copyright © 2013 Louisiana State University Press
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Laura Van Prooyen. "Our Story in Snow, and: Decade." Southern Review 49.2 (2013): 270-271. Project MUSE. Web. 10 Apr. 2013. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Prooyen, L. V.(2013). Our Story in Snow, and: Decade. Southern Review 49(2), 270-271. Louisiana State University Press. Retrieved April 10, 2013, from Project MUSE database.
Laura Van Prooyen. "Our Story in Snow, and: Decade." Southern Review 49, no. 2 (2013): 270-271. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed April 10, 2013).
T1 - Our Story in Snow, and: Decade
A1 - Laura Van Prooyen
JF - Southern Review
VL - 49
IS - 2
SP - 270
EP - 271
PY - 2013
PB - Louisiana State University Press
SN - 2168-5541
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/southern_review/v049/49.2.van-prooyen.html
N1 - Volume 49, Number 2, Spring 2013
ER -


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