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In the brittle air the seconds, round as sorrow,
cling crystal on the branch; the black twigs gleam
and bend, heavy: almost to break; the slow
inexorable build of sleet. Those sad eyes seem
shadow-starred like ice, as stopped time goes
brittle into silence, and slow weight grows

unbearable. And still the burden grows
almost to break. Season of cold sorrow,
early sunset, snow-lost days: last light goes
so quickly; and on my windows gleam
crystal other worlds, a universe, it seems,
in traces on the glass where far stars slow

the turning galaxy. I was too chill, too slow
to catch the crystal hour. Though universes grow
in crystal filigree on glass, transformation seems
impossible. When is vapor ice? Does sorrow
arise from joy? What momentary gleam
entrances hope before the instant goes?

Hope fractures in a second, like crystal goes
suddenly from glass. Rain, sullen, sad and slow
erased a universe. The fragmentary gleam
dies a diamond death. Silence grows
across the galaxies. The stars of sorrow
all wink out. Why does December seem

so vacant now? Mid-winter once it seemed
the universe stood still. The one star goes
before us yet. This was no winter sorrow.
Hope paced the sky; we followed in our slow
half eager hesitance. How vision grows
before hope halts! So we, toward the gleam,

the vision. But blinded by cold gleam,
the star, the world changed — gone, all that seemed
possible in sky. Now lost. Now swift ice grows
along the silvered stem and now the world goes
stumbling through the galaxy; now hope dies — slow
or swift — ice builds on branch. Sorrow

weights the world. Sorrow shapes the gleam,
like ice; builds slow, and all things seem
futile. Last hope goes; the crystal shadow grows.

      — Sharon Kourous