At my parents’ house on the one-month anniversary of my sister’s death, which is also the three-year anniversary of September 11th it snows. Too early for snow but seasons change. On the warm ground snow falls all day, fat white splashes not quite like ashes, but with a purpose, a quiet, eerie mismatch of What for, why, how can this be. There's a hum. I can't hear right. This silence is deafening. I hate snow. A chainsaw sits near the door of my childhood home. The door’s knob wore down and fell off. The door forgot its name, is listening for it in the wind. A pair of rubber work boots stand nearby. They rub together, rattled by a cold breeze, a synthetic scratch, scratch, daring me to enter. Nothing substitutes the hand of God. The zinnias know this too and tell me so as they fall apart on the lawn. There is a flood of injustice. I keep reaching but there is no hand there. If I go inside I have to hold my breath. I know I should leave or it might drown me. Retrograde. This owns me. Retrograde. Inside the house, I turn the television onto the news. Every American should share something this day, even frozen snowmen. My parents are a shared melting of helplessly falling. They are taking turns scooping each other up and pouring each other onto the floor. Their tap root grew a seedling grew a tumor grew a tumor grew a tumor. This is their first anniversary, their first official reminder of many. I cannot see my mother's face. I cannot see this in her. Looking at my mother feels like putting my hand on my father's crotch, grossly inappropriate carved into a thick slice of far too intimate. I want to projectile vomit what we share onto the wall but still and even though, I love them. I love their loss because I lost something too. I lost my mirror. Where did myself go? I left a chair for her. (I suspect this means nothing to you unless you’ve lost a her. I pray our hers are somewhere together with no extra chairs.) I need these two to drag themselves off their couch and see the extra chair in my empty mirror. I wish this because I want my reflection back. Through the window I watch the flakes fall, clinging. I watch the flakes land and fall apart, turning themselves inside out. The snow taps a pattern on the window. Each flake with its own pattern, its own living thing, a follicle, a fingerprint. It has a body, snow's silence is full. It breathes. One breath. Today it breathes softly, as it should. Two breaths. A cadence is found. Incomprehensible, but so is the hearing of any savage thing. This is the first day it has dared come so close in a long time and I am not afraid
Lisa Keeton is a third-year candidate in the Creative Writing MFA Program at the University of Missouri, St. Louis. Her poetry has been published at San Antonio Review, Kalopsia Lit, and River Bluff Review, and is in consideration at small presses nation- wide. She is working on writing her first book of poetry.