Penny Boxall – Snowflake Bentley


Penny Boxall
Snowflake Bentley

The idea of our marriage formed and dissolved,
too quick to capture. I forget whose idea it was:
I can’t recall your ever having been indoors.
You were out all day, wet-mittened, working with your blue
hands in a blizzard, oblivious. You spent the year
with your eye on the weather, the clouds bursting white

like unstitched pillows. We made our agreement
in spring, the last flurry of winter over. You thought
of those precisions you had missed in your uncompletable
collection, your catalogue of ice. No two
were ever the same, you said — and each year
altered you as you absorbed them. What could I be

to you, the same no matter how you looked?
Your tenderness for snow was dear, but
the habit of love-loss made you philosophic.
Each night, your beauties gone to the dark,
you’d show me what you’d seen, the crisp
sublime stars like the fractals of a quilt.

The morning brought you a gift of a storm
and you were out like a shot.
You are a yeti-negative, dark and small,
the blizzard shaking up around you
until you are an impression,
only an idea holding you together.