Names for Snow
unlatching the fortochka in the morning light.
Let’s name them all, love, along the way. Last night snow danced its boreal ballet
of whorls and swirls, fine arabesques in white—
you know hundreds of names for snow, you say.
Down crystalline paths we slip and spin, surveying
ice falls, tall drifts, single flakes in flight—
my love and I count them along the way.
In my head, sparking visions start to play:
once love’s begun, who knows? Perhaps we might—
There are hundreds of names for snow, you say,
gently, their meanings subtle, hard to convey—
elusive as love’s many meanings last night.
I wait. You walk—silent—along your way.
Feeling foolish, unschooled, I whisk away
a sudden, childish tear obscuring my sight.
You know hundreds of names for love, you say:
I’ll learn them all, love, along my way.
— Katherine E. Young, author of Day of the Border Guards