The house still smelled of fresh-cut wood  
newly built on the original foundation  

full of salvaged doors and antique chairs  
the kitchen warm in low December sun.  

John said that old farmer knew  
just where to place it in the landscape.  

Big glass windows overlooked snowfields  
Horseshoe Mound across the river

cats sprawled amid Mexican pottery  
even the dog had reincarnated.  

These solid fixtures gave me comfort  
like mouse turds and Episcopal catechism  

on the cold stove in the parish house.  
You'd never been there.  I could sleep.  

I was writing you a letter in my head  
and the winter wind from North Dakota  
was not cold enough for me.  

My sister stayed with the astrologer  
while I took photographs of lichens  

on the stone wall along High Street  
that leads up to the old cemetery.  

Not enough light so late in the day.  
We visited our friends in kitchens  

where they gave us brandy and Christmas cookies.  
Another sister appeared, suddenly grown up  

with a long dark braid and her mother's astounding bones  
she spoke of wolves, bison at Yellowstone.  

Her nephews played in wet snow
in their Batman pajamas. 

A man I had not seen for a dozen years  
hugged me hard, would not let go.  

Did you ever see the stars there?  
They cracked me open a long time ago. 

Copyright 2000, Margot F. Boyer 

Margot F. Boyer grew up in Chicago and has lived in Washington since 1981.  Her work has appeared in Heartland Journal, synapse, and Enchante.  She recently received her MFA from Goddard College.