Just over the horizon a great machine of death is roaring andrearing.
One can hear it always. Earthquake, starvation, the ever-renewing field of corpse-flesh.
In this valley the snow falls silently all day and out our window
We see the curtain of it shifting and folding, hiding us away inour little house,
We see earth smoothened and beautified, made like a fantasy, thesnow-clad trees
So graceful in a dream of peace. In our new bed, which is bigenough to seem like the north pasture almost
With our two cats, Cooker and Smudgins, lying undisturbed inthe southeastern and southwestern corners,
We lie loving and warm, looking out from time to time."Snowbound," we say. We speak of the poet
Who lived with his young housekeeper long ago in themountains of the western province, the kingdom
Of complete cruelty, where heads fell like wilted flowers andsnow fell for many months across the mouth
Of the pass and drifted deep in the vale. In our kitchen themaple-fire murmurs
In our stove. We eat cheese and new-made bread and jumboSpanish olives
That have been steeped in our special brine of jalapeños andgarlic and dill and thyme.
We have a nip or two from the small inexpensive cognac thatmakes us smile and sigh.
For a while we close the immense index of imageswhich is
Our lives--for instance, the child on the Mescalero reservationin New Mexico in 1966
Sitting naked in the dirt outside his family's hut of tin andcardboard,
Covered with sores, unable to speak. But of course the child ishere with us now,
We cannot close the index. How will we survive? We don't andcannot know.
Beyond the horizon a great unceasing noise is undeniable. Themachine
May break through and come lurching into our valley at anymoment, at any moment.
Cheers, baby. Here's to us. See how the curtain of snow waversand falls back.
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