When the first pale flakes of January fall
you can glimpse them. Look through a pair of field-glasses:
where the rocks used to be there is a hint of them...
Then they are there.
Rub your eyes, blink, and look again:
there is one atop each fence post.
When the wind blows they drop from trees on their prey.

Sometimes they hitch rides in the wheel-wells of cars,
traveling for miles, and then slip softly onto the road
to spread their propaganda in another county.

They are not subject to physical laws.
Each night they rise into the sky:
you can see them at sunrise imitating clouds
or at midnight mocking the stars,
cavorting amongst nebulae, obscuring the galactic hub.

Water is their worst enemy.
Rainfall routs and destroys them.
Like witches, they die by melting,
or, like parliaments, by dissolution.

But they are fecund and ubiquitous.
You will find their small round eggs
on sidewalks after a summer storm.
They hibernate all summer and awake with the frost.
They have gathered in myriads at the north and south poles,
awaiting a change of climate, a shift in the earth’s axis,
continental drift, a flux in the solar wind.

Oh! Then they will have us.
Implacable in glaciers and icebergs,
they will meet at the equator,
making of the earth a pair of snow turtles,
heads and limbs withdrawn but locked in frigid embrace,
drifting forever around a swollen icy sun.

January 12, 1980

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