The snow falls so slowly outside,
it could be floating.
The flakes swim like thoughts
of brush strokes before the dip
and thrash against canvas.
Bristles writhe like so many lovers
naked, their erect parts perched,
ready to spill and melt into one body.
A memory falls down the stairs
across the street, a teenage boy
rides his horse under the full moon,
it’s pockmarked wastes, reflected
in the sheen of new snow.
A man leaves his apartment and
stops on the steps. He wonders
why he can never walk faster
than those falling crystals.
The avenues become paths along
his family’s farm, searching for holes
the horse might catch her feet in,
under the fresh powder.
If you stop too long in the snow,
it’s easy to believe yourself dead,
already your last moment, frozen
onto the canvas.
Under a streetlight
he tries to remember the name
of his long dead horse, at just this moment
he notices a lone artist, stretching
above an easel. Before he sees the gun,
he watches snow distort, and fly wildly
around the muzzle. He doesn’t feel
the bullet enter his chest
but somehow understands it’s inside him.
Waiting for his chance to make life imitate art,
the artist drops his pistol
and lifts his brush and palette.
His full attention can focus
on the life passing onto the canvas
leveled by a bullet the victim couldn’t hear
his senses tune wholly on the falling snow.
The dying man on the ground stares
up at the snow. He listens to it
soak his blood, and he blinks his eyes
to the same rhythm he walked.
He turns his head to watch the artist,
his palette turning white,
his brush moving with the snow,
from the top of the canvas to the bottom.
The man on the ground wants to shout,
scream the title of the piece,
as the horse of memory canters
through his brightly shining brain.
Its breath steaming,
turning the world white,