with ice in her hair, like dreadlocks of black and white.
She was frozen to differing depths,
a January pond in shifting weather.
She knew the number of the flakes,
stretched infinite before us;
she knew the hour of the storm,
and the measure of the movement that each wind makes.
Here is the thing, the odd thing--
she smelled like summer.
There was heat in her, but cloaked,
like the bird who can--but will not--sing.
I looked at her and lit myself for her.
I went up: white, orange, red, black, off into the leaden sky.
Gypsies wear red and gold, black and emerald.
Irish Gypsies tell stories as they burn.
In ice storms, the birches wear silver shirts;
they bow low as if winter were royalty.
My love wears branches of scars spread in inflicted composition;
she carries a cold hollowing within her, a saving space for blood and dirt.
I brought her lilies, her snow-twins sweet...
in spring, black tulips to stir her lips to smile.
Though she warned me, I couldn't leave; when she kissed me I couldn't breathe--
a Gypsy burned without her tale complete.