… Ah, but she wept. She wept like an impending snow storm swept upon the clouds. And as they tremble in crooked fingers hidden by oil paints, she is shut into the golden heart like a casket of romantic velleity, salt-less rills, a season without a name persevered like baby's breath in her hair -- Queen Anne's Lace dallied with maudlin blue.

He placed another snowflake over her cheekbones, a curve of oil painted skin like eyelet lace.

And the hinges, with the season, slammed closed.

"To preserve her?" He laughed at their foolishness, fingers wind-burned and cold, white bespangled with dabs of pink as he drifted through out the kitchen, cobwebs threading his wrists as he dusted the shelves. "That would take a life time."

It was a ponderous sensation to feel his digits slip over the golden chain, sliding toward the locket, tempting the expressions that forebode him there. Everything glittered like a frozen breath, a field of buttercups, a -- can not find expression, nor the right words to say – plain of intangibility. Yet the metal is always warm with the scent of his hands, a piece of jewelry always carried with him, like the laugh of a lover long since dead. Repentance, or the refusal to let go? Sins are only a grounding measure.

So she wanes when Spring comes and the snow roses die, melted for the blooms of temporal belonging. She is not a person. She never was a person. She was a spark in his imagination that budded into a light, peeling away the petals, revealed in the frosty deep of intellect. She was a daguerreotype framed in tarnished gold, the size of a walnut in his palm, something to fill the hole in his ribs, disrupting pearl white with falling tears as nothing sifted through everything, clinging to him, damaged… And so unrelenting in her corporeality for a creature who could not taste what was real.

It was painting the size of his palm, carried not on his breast, but the space in between. A tiny stretch of inked eyes, a blue back drop, and white dripping from the hinges as warmth was found to be no longer inspiring of sunlight. A picture inside a locket of a woman who never existed.

But there was an old woman beyond him, bundled in her folds of wool, white hair cinched behind her head in a bobble of gray. "Endless amount of time," she consoled, rocking in her ancient chair, the wood as old as the cracks in her hands. "Endless amount of tears."

January is a breathable, understandable time of apology, despite February claiming the 'pure' denomination in all etymological references. The air inhales for her. Is designed by its own eristic calls of frore.

The painting was starting to wither…

He stared so long at the oval portrait that she was imprinted on the back of his eyelids like a child's handprint on a school house window. If it were not for the vibrancy of his memory, she may have already found another place.

"Your eyes," he chuckled, shaking his head. Hands that trembled in the bitter chill. "They are never dry."

but fading –

A palm-full of snow mounded into his hand from the sidewalk, and he gently poured it into the locket, sealing it closed with the faded baby's breath. "… But always white, until the spring comes."

Spring, spring, an all encompassing rebirth - the snow will melt from her portrait in streams reminiscent of tears.

"Why do you do that?" Asks the little old woman. Morning glories crawl toward the doorstep as he paces, unable to cry, holding it all in, sealing off winter into the gold– but wait, he can not now, not as everything within those metallic walls are melting. "Why be so frantic when April smiles?"

He stopped, he swallowed, and he paced again. "Her sobs flow freely. They will not stop."

The old woman wrinkled her face into a map of old age, divots here, an age spot there like a wilted flower bed. "The portrait?"

"More than that. Always more. But non-ceasing, and always displeased in the warmer months… Not angrily so, but…" And the words stop flowing like the locket's fits of crying.

This daguerreotype was the long lost love of hopeful fantasy, more than a glimmer of aging metal. The crone leaned forward. "Perhaps you should do that for her."

"What can possibly be done?" No release for him. Just the same repetition every year, those same winding circles of confusion. "What can I do? Her tears are mine, as is her dissatisfaction, her mysteries, her calamities; I could never grow near them -" his eyes were dryer than the inside edge of the window panes – "Could never hold her as close as the snow."

"Cry for her."

Could it have been so simple?

He slipped the locket onto his bookshelf, watching as Queen Anne's Lace bloomed beyond the window, carrying it with him into the next season. The illumination of her lonely eyes sprouting from plots of tousled dirt.

Mysteries of yellows and pink wrap him in fragrance as he stands there, smiling to himself, absorbed in the glee of knowing that she will never leave, that her tears are his own, if not spilling down his own cheeks, then in tufts of white from the sky. The portrait had faded to an imprint of perfection.

… But her presence is only a teardrop away, a few drops of salt spilling from his eyes, while the children point and wonder why he cries, why he is so upset, why his hands are empty, why he will not stop…

And the old woman holds each of their fingers, white hair bathing in transparent April that sprays the street in glitter. "No more of that, now. No more worrying…" She laughs a gleeful tune, crinkled from a century of use. Her hands are as warm as the golden locket as she coos, "For though he weeps on that lonely step, there stands the happiest man in the world."