Human Footprint Series: Snow

Let the zone of perpetual snow not disappear. Let the
world be be white: from Chibougamau, to Blanc Sablon,
from Drummondville to Lac St-Jean, from Metagami to
Rivière-du-Loup, let candles of snow light forests and
flakes descend in capes and saucers, sleepily silver and
white. Remember how it began: from school windows in
naptime hush we watched as chalk dust shook loose from
plump skies, then cupfuls of rice, rabbit fur, knuckle bones,
chipped china and finally a haze of hectic feathers. By the
time we got off the bus, it had grown into a hungry animal,
clung to dormer and sill, banked against thresholds, piled
high on driveways where we drilled into drifts with shovels,
mittens crystal-pilled with hard beads of carbon and our
own sweat. The city sank into its calm. Breathing smoky
cauls, we stood still in the descent of the last slow roses.
What did we know of tepid rains to come: no meringue,
no global à la mode, no frozen zenith or satin skullcap
with which to honour the divine. You’ll recall toes curling
in wet socks and the ore-filled windows of houses leaning
into dark. Blown bits pricked your skin. Stepping into the
plain wooden room, the heave of heat, you shut the cold
behind you. How you laid stiff mittens on the radiator’s
hiss, looked up to see your family, each settled by the fire
with a book, faces caught in concentration, each reading a
different story.