In tonight’s new snow my footsteps intertwine with a stranger’s,
and I take the path he made a minute ago.
Both sets will be gone by morning, his and mine
filled in by falling flakes, erased as we sleep.
This broad white page of winter will be blank, and what
our footprints spelled across it will vanish—
but for now, I almost understand. Just like the snow which
falls in single flakes, yet weaves one sheet to cover all,
we two are separate, though together in our difference
we are strong enough to bow the branches of trees
and fill the sideways path. In the sudden society
of frost that has settled here, I find myself and him
in footprints and in ruins—yet there is a final confusion
in this quiet storm, a final question posed and abandoned
in the space between our steps: somehow, this snow falls
softer than we can fall, softer than an empire ever fell,
softer than me when I said she was the only one,
softer even than the casualty.