It used to settle on the crowns of trees
unevenly, so that gravity or a breeze
could make a fringe fall down,
the fluttering particles meeting their two-
dimensional shadows, off-
white occluding off-white.
Children could scoop it up
in disposable clear plastic cups
for later use, keeping it safe
in something called a freezer.
They would add sugar on top
or drops of harmless
coloring, so that the cup
would gradually turn red,
or green, or pink, or gold.
Left undisturbed, it softened
then over a night became ice,
and might crack under your foot,
or else support your weight,
if it had been cold long enough.
Sometimes it arrived
as early as October
and stayed here until February at least.
Deer used to leave
their tracks in it: little
divots, little less-
naïve enough to be afraid of wolves.
Stephanie Burt is professor of English at Harvard and the author of several books of poetry and literary criticism, most recently Advice from the Lights and The Poem Is You: 60 Contemporary American Poems and How to Read Them.
Snow first appeared in TLR Chemistry.