Going uphill toward her house in snow so deep
the road is gone, the lover walks the tops
of fence posts. Thoughts about his dying child,
or how to keep the farm after the fire
never enter his mind. Not that he’s so
preoccupied with balancing himself
in his workboots, but that the deaths of child
and farm haven’t yet happened, couldn’t happen
on such a luminous night, the gauzy moon
just rising over her father’s roof as if
to guide him there. The only howling comes
from her dog, Shep, who has already heard
his lurching steps, and perhaps even smells
the hurt bird he holds in his coat, a gift
he can hardly wait to give. No need to hurry.
Soon, farm boy become impresario,
he’ll lift his goat back from the kitchen table
and leave a creature there, dragging its wing.
Soon, cooing softly at its box, she’ll shoo
her younger sisters out and shut the door
and draw him close, finding in his grave, dark eyes
how well they’ve known each other all along.
Soon their long climb together will begin.