Like flour shifting through a sieve, snow fell gently.
The boy stuck his tongue out, tasting snow newness.
A slight twinge-chill touched his tongue.
Catching some downy flakes with red wool mittens,
he planned to make snowballs or angels or forts
or lopsided snowmen sniffing the air with carrot noses.
But the snow was loose and unmanageable,
another disappointment in his life.
There never seemed to be sound during that snow,
although cars were gliding past
like figure skaters on hard ice.
He needed this intense silence to think
about what happened to his mother.
She was letting him help mix flour, and turn
the shifter’s metal crank, sprinkling white down,
when she sagged in a pile on the floor.
He knew this was not normal — calling to her,
her not responding. His big-boy moment was
understanding to call 9-1-1, the police arriving,
their flashers mirroring on the snow fall.
A lady took him outside to distract him.
But he knew it was his mother under the white sheet,
not moving any more than a snow bank.
He could see his father arriving, lifting that sheet,
crying as soft as the snow.
The boy already understood, at five,
life can fall apart like snow.