A Measurement of Winter

Caprice Garvin

In this snow, one flake leaves space for another, one gives room to another, this is the geometric progression of rapture. 

There were red berries. 

And crumbling stone; garage with its paper roof half-collapsed; barn that could not remember animals living within, only ever-widening holes; a solution of warm water and powdered milk poured into a square tin, never enough for the cats that meowed from the top of the steps, circling cats with their frames bony in the way fallen branches are bony when the snow first begins to fall. But there was also the falling snow. Clean snow falling all around, as though this were a place still deserving of the untouched, the unspoken, the un-lost. 

Street lamps with their indifferent wires and hunching posts become a promise of lovemaking to secret lovers. I’d watch them from my bedroom window, those older girls across the road, see the one throw a snow ball at the window of the other, two young women in love, and their parents disapproving. The snow ball hit the glass, and somehow only the girl inside, not her parents, heard. She came to the door and peered out into the dark, then squeezed through, looking back as she helped the door close slowly, so slowly, before her rush across the lawn.

I watched them huddle at the edge of that lawn, on the far side of a hedge. They faced each other holding one another’s hands, as though they’d never seen one another before, as though they were falling into a silent grace, the way snow will, gathering on the curve of a rose hedge, or a soft path nearly forgotten from the back gate. 

Every closeness would be luminous, even the hiding places where only moss glowed, and twigs closest to moon, and edge of blue blanket lain like a shadow a painter paints when she first opens the front door and steps outside into snow, and sees that moonlight’s shadows are not only gray after all.


Headshot | Garvin


Caprice Garvin holds an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has most recently appeared or is forthcoming in Colorado Review, Poetry East, The New Verse News, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Terrain.org, and Lily Poetry Review.