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Philip Levine

The Gift of Winter The alder outside my window motionless, the forsythia holding its breath, the last smear of fog burnt away so the day can enter the long memory of winter, clear and uncorrupted. Twelve years old, I tramped the back alleys searching for something I couldn't name or describe and found cinders jeweled with tiny points of light that cut; I found handwritten, scented letters, gifts from the future, their words frozen in the weather"Paola, there is never a right time," in a straight, manly hand that collapsed from exhaustion. There were trees there too, a row of tattered Chinese elms to shade the past year's garbage, a fenced-in copper beech thicker than a Pontiac, its leafless branches stiffening in the wind. There was always that wind, unnamed, defiant, whistling in the face of February and not this odd calm outside my window and closing in. Even when the final blizzard whited out the old neighborhoods there was always new life aching to break through and nothing I cou ld do to stop it. 10

Profile for University of Idaho Library

Fugue 31 - Summer/Fall 2006 (No. 31)  

The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho

Fugue 31 - Summer/Fall 2006 (No. 31)  

The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho