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Laughter Bouncing on Snow

by Ariane Scott

When the sun spills through your window
and illuminates the dust
is it the dust that strikes you
or the steady stream of light?

I’m tired of the dust on my skin.
I’m lying in the tub for hours
hoping for erosion or
a blistering boil,
hoping for a chance to shrink beneath,
shed away, grow back unsullied.

With my head underwater
I can hear the end of days.
A fire on a mountaintop,
a jet dive-bombing crowds,
an ocean overtaking land.

Exploding seashells.

When I emerge I am freezing.
Shivering, miserable,
I get a sense of what my son
lost when he slid from the warm waters
of my womb.

My husband walks into the bathroom.
“Amniotic fluid” I say, nodding at the water
as it drains.
He stares at me.

When I’m dry and dressed
I pull on my boots, walk outside
coatless, jump from the deck
to the snow below.
I’d tear up the yard with my footprints
but I don’t want to make it mine.

It could be all about the places
our feet have fallen, how we tread
this path or that, how we sit
and wonder why. I could shudder
at the way the snow melts slow
and still the prints are left,
icy testimonials to permanence, effect,
standing lonesome in the thaw,
refusing to give in.

But erosion is for cliffs and rocky places,
indulgent shorelines, and I’m not
so filthy I need to boil myself clean.

And it’s not the footfalls I hear, not really,
not the crunch of spiky crystal beneath shoe.

It’s the sound of a snowplow down the road,
headed this way,
a bird at the feeder prompting Spring.
It’s the wind in the sleeping wildflowers
on the hill.

My son opens the door, suited up.
“Mommy!” he says.

It’s laughter bouncing on snow.


Author's Note: 2005

Posted on 06/04/2012
Copyright © 2021 Ariane Scott

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 11/25/12 at 03:47 AM

Such a remarkable use of language and place, our imprints or not. A pleasure to read.

Posted by Carissa Dewey on 04/25/14 at 12:27 AM

love your style here. great imagery. i had to read it a couple times to soak it all in.

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