It is winter. Outside, the hills
are covered in moonlight
against frost. In a cold room
a man shuffles cards
in half darkness.
On one of the cards is written:
“this world is not ours.”
and on another:
“your hands hold a labyrinth
Somewhere in the scratched darkness
the broken voice of an owl
goes out across the river:
shadowed casings of something unanswered
above the eddied currents of light.
But if that man could only
crouch down near the bank
and read the changing reflections,
or know the strains of loss in that voice
that echoes through sparse branches
then he could bring himself to deal
that impossible third card, to read
the total silence of its blank face
like an owl sliding over snowfields
in the luminous frigid sun.