First Snow

I felt it coming in the thin, blue air.
I saw it in the sky, delaying there,
divinely punctual, for the secret nod
and signal for descent from some snow-god.

I should have known the clouds would waver down
slowly, until they lay upon the ground
and we could walk, feet kicking up the sky
beneath, that once was hanging white and high.

I should have been prepared for this new sight
of something moving downward in the night,
of snow-flame creeping outward on the trees,
and gathering on the roofs, along the eaves,

ticking against the window, flickering by,
or landing on the ledge to melt and die,
holding its pattern for one little space
of time against the wood like fragile lace.

I covered up the flower beds to prepare
for what I knew was near, yet unaware
I let the white drift downward in the still
cold air, to find defeat upon my sill.