The Worlds I Know
Don't breathe, I tell him, they'll die. We lean over the cold blue hood of the car, bend close to watch the first flakes, small as salt grains, light and break or stay whole. I point a numb finger: Look there, tiny perfect stars, I say without speaking, only with my eyes, and he nods, smiles, shows me one of his-- a cathedral so ephemeral it floated here. I wish I had a magnifying glass. I wish I had another life to give him the worlds I know, the worlds I don't, and together we could enter the church of a diamond. I'll have to settle for this: a logging spur two rutted miles above Rattlesnake Gorge. Over a broken pine, just visible against grey, a Red-tailed hawk traces lonely ovals. Flags of green moss cling to a bony snag. He's tall, nearly as tall as me. He's me. Our lungs give out and the ghosts inside us rise. He shivers in bitter air, says nothing, and I know too well it's time to move on, the snow normal now, not strange lace along the line of hills. On the quiet ride down, our hearts whisper from their separate cells.