Size / / /

The loud murmuring of the city fell away in a vast silence . . . and the stars shone over broken walls.

—Clark Ashton Smith

We all knew the snow

could not last

but the flakes kept swirling down

and Jenny was so cold.

The winds of winter had already killed

the small garden, made mirrors

of the pond and birdbath,

and one small girl froze

outside, she read.

Stacey turned the page.

The snow is deeper now and we cannot

get out. Jack pleaded with her to stop,

he was that cold, but she said

just a little more.

The drifts covered the streetlamps, the oak

trees, the peaked and gabled roof,

but Stacey kept on reading. She moved

closer to the desk as the

streetlight dimmed.

A window pane cracked

and white powder melted on

the horsehair seat. In desperation,

Jack picked up the snow dome and gave it

a couple of really good shakes.

The street swirled white;

the house pinged; lights shattered,

and the snow flowed unchecked

across the window seat, down

the stair, and into every room.

By the time Marian and Kim

left the theater

Stacey had finished the book.

David C. Kopaska-Merkel won the 2006 Rhysling Award for a collaboration with Kendall Evans, edits Dreams & Nightmares magazine, and has edited Star*Line and several Rhysling anthologies. His poems have appeared in Asimov’s, Strange Horizons, and elsewhere. A collection, Some Disassembly Required, winner of the 2023 Elgin Award, is available from him at
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