I was trying to tell you something about the brittle winter,
about the snow that came down in the city streets and changed
everything, how they went quiet, we were all quiet
and the whiteness stood like an old collective noun for kindness
or something people feel for each other when they are trying not to fall
but also to walk in a way that says look at the light,
look at the beauty in the light and how it makes even the dirty
violet, how it shows me that other girl, the shiny, good girl
whose eyes are bright discs that quiver in their sockets.
I was wanting to say that every sound ever made is out there,
our private sounds, the shapes of words we put together are
occupying space, like snowflakes, spoken snowflakes
all over the sky. Maybe the snow is like sound and space,
like saying and not saying and I was trying to tell you something
I had figured out about forgiveness and the way it can suddenly descend
and how like absolution you can’t make it happen
but you have to really know it, really feel it and then all that matters is
getting home and I was trying to tell you that today I walked for miles
amongst the new fall, staring at the flakes melting on my skin
but you had stopped listening so I picked up the red tambourine
you bought me at Hessy’s and wrapped in tissue paper that Christmas,
you who doesn’t like clatter, who prefers stillness, bought me
a percussion grade Stagg, and there I was suddenly, come home,
to my 36 mini-cymbals, rattle-handing all over the place.
I think maybe today was a day you had waited for. Thank you
for my tambourine. There is nothing I can tell you about winter.

Jane Aspinall


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