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Words Without Borders is an inaugural Whiting Literary Magazine Prize winner!
from the January 2004 issue

Shadows on the Snow


The snow comes late this year. Violet shadows
doze like shepherds round
a white fire.
The swaying shadow of a fence looks like a woman's clavicle-
a woman who dreams of her lover's snowy journey home,
his late return.


Thin trails lead to the doorway.
A car parked for hours
compresses black earth.
Radio signals float just out of earshot.
A boat with its eel fishers
in luminous raincoats skims by.
A child-his little hand trembling-
casts slanting trees across the table.


The choir kneels.
The moment has come to speak
in a voice I have never known before.


I raise my head and see a single star in the night sky,
shapeless and fearful like the shard of a broken bottleneck,
a star I have for years foolishly followed.
Perhaps the shadow of our infinite persistence
looks to someone else like a large hump
on the Moon
a camel bent over a puddle
preparing for a new stretch of thirst.

Read more from the January 2004 issue
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