She sleeps

Lips blue with cold

High cheekbones dusted with flakes of snow.

Her eyes open, startlingly violet against her pale face, framed by long dark lashes.

She laughs

A sudden, shocking sound in the dark silence of the pine woods.

Quick as thought, she leaps to her feet

Dancing atop icy ponds and towering snowdrifts,

A silken scarf fluttering behind her like gossamer wings.

Clouds of mist flow from her rosebud lips as she sings,

A high, keening sound, her words spoken in an ancient tongue

Long lost from the mind of man.

Her hands flash in mystic gestures, and soft flakes of snow

Like the feathers of angels float down from the sky,

Alighting gently on the tops of green boughs whose undersides glisten

With crystal spears of ice.

As she dances, the very earth freezes beneath her feet.

Dewy grass is covered in creeping silver frost

Its fresh green stalks withering to twisted ribbons of brown.

She slows now,

Breathing hard, her cheeks pink from exertion.

Her eyelids droop, and she stumbles.

Beneath the spreading branches of a colossal oak,

Spears of green poke their tips through a layer of melting snow.

She sits beside them, bare legs folding gracefully,

Her long scarf sodden with meltwater and stained with mud.

Slowly, she slumps to the ground, lying curled beside the trunk of the tree.

Her dark lashes touch her rosy cheeks, her face a dream of perfection,

Before the last remaining snow crashes down from the high branches

To bury her once more in an icy tomb.

And Winter sleeps again.