Branches: wings: we sheltered in thick fir trees.
The cliff-face, as we’d asked, had furnished trees.

When your mother died, I dreamed the wild mountain
of the grave, its myrrh and milk, fur and fleece.

I know what my soul saw: the sky like silk
pulled through a ring, a flock of wind-slurred trees.

Those feathery evergreens were blue—didn’t you
wear blue for luck at all her surgeries?

Calm came into the dream, unburdened as snow.
It sugared the rocks, the rock-encircled trees.


You had no need to dream her back: your many
kisses were locks against death’s burglaries.

Regret came into the dream thankless as snow.
It floured God’s black beard, it furred the trees.

There was no pile of stones, laid one by one
to mark the leaden anniversaries.

No beasts, no birds—snow fine as smoke, and the only
quickened shapes, behind that curtain, were trees.

Years past, a soul slipped by the stone I was.
On the windowpane, frost’s rucked embroideries.

Root and branch: the year of fasting ends.
Outside: veiled sun, snow’s layered silks, blurred trees.

Whose ghost is it, Shahid, feeds my grief-dream?
Whose loss, whose task, whose darkened nursery?