by Amy Bowers

The side yard of my house runs along a road where the snow has been repeatedly plowed, packed, and ordered into crystal clusters. The appearance is otherworldly–magical even. Oh, how I hate that overused and perfect word.

The snow melted and re-froze over and over. New softer-than-air snow drifted down on the mounds, filling in the melted crags, and then it too melted and re-froze into a hardened healing.

Now, winter wanes, and the sun stays in the sky, brighter and longer than even a few weeks ago.

And the snow, I swear, has turned into a glistering crystalline mass a hundred feet long. It blinds me when I walk up the hill of Sandra Lane. I tell my son each time, Look! Look! He says, y e a h and kicks it into the drainage grate–listening to the splash below.

We tell stories of disfigured phantoms, clowns, and albino alligators that may live in the subterranean watery pipes. Every winter, on warm days, we kick and stomp snow through the steel grate and wonder for a beat until we hear the slosh.

I try to take pictures and videos with my phone to capture the temporary wonder. I want to remember. But the images look like dirty snow piled up next to the road after a long winter. Nothing special. Not the smoked quartzy fantasy, I imagine; something cracked—a geode of my heart after the long, painfully ossified winter.

The tips of the gemmy snow, darkened with dirt, might be the collected smoke of the fires we burned, four cords worth, to warm our small, dark-paneled living room–our burrow lined with bodies and blankets. The temporal crystals are a memory made physical. And before melting into the aquifer, they harden for one last insistence.

One last cry of don’t forget. Don’t forget this winter.

photo credit: Joe Wong, Unsplash