February smiles like a jaded mirror. There are sapphires in the sky that cut into their own blue, marking the days in red. These moments belong to her as she glances beyond the ice sculptures and into the woods, into the clawing white arms that look like the arching necks of swans, dressed in flecks of color when the sun slides into its zenith, eyes sparkling with orange, then the globe melts onward, glasses of yellow refreezing into a shade of pink, dying every neck the hue of tear-struck cheeks.

The trees tousle back and forth without end, glimmering like the teeth of a blissful expression.

"They can't even smile without waving good-bye."


It is a horizon line that creeps into our eyes as life descends into a panorama of the unseen performances to mark the…

She smiles, and her hand extends. "I am all alone, here."

The children laugh like the ripples of a puddle slowly freezing over, the sound restrained within their throats, sliding over the scales of every dormant fish. He looks into the woods with the eyes of an eye year old, every tree a scornful grandmother, tufts of white frost frozen around their shoulders. Swan necks – how unlike them; he is never alone. "I'm not."


"Do you remember when gravity was like spinning wheels?" She laughs. Age changes you. Her eyes have darkened like coffee stains, and her fingers, spotted with age, tremble as thread is pulled through those soft, ancient digits with a hiss of the loom, but it is only a distant memory, a snag in her thread.

His chuckle is a tired, rumpled stretch of taffeta. "Always in the way?"

The sound is tossed back in forth with careless humor as she whispers, "No…" And has become one of those shining, grandmotherly trees balanced outside of the window frame. Her lips are creased and thin. No longer plump in a sweet little heart of youth. "It just keeps going around and around and around…"

The motions of her hand are in trembling circles, hard for him to track through bifocal glasses, but even in the extinguished pink of the sunlight, her countenance gleaming like the nescient frost; he can find room to laugh at an old cliché. Feminine, aged hands wave valedictory signs; "What goes up must come down?"

"… And around, and around, and around…"


She dies like a glimmer of faith, the light of the world remaining, another remembrance balanced outside of the window frame. Years from the date, there will be coffee stains on the carpet, even as he waves back and forth, watching her hands in his imagination in a timeless descent, following the paths of gravity. The frozen trees smile and laugh, arms swaying, frosty fingers of wood scratching into the breeze, relieved like a grandmother who knows assuaged cold. Around and around and around go her fingers, and so do the towering branches, swaying. Swaying because --

"They can't even smile without waving good-bye."