How Soon

The story goes from in a rainfall
to sister walking a field
browned autumn. And when she arrives
winter has come, so the old man
rises from his chair, picks up
matches, pipes and tools, and
walks out to begin again.
 
The sculptures grow by the day,
birds in ice, recognizable
eagles, a bear who began
as a man in a moment of dance.
He does this in ice, all
winter carving at dawn,
carving at dusk.
 
And sister after walking a field
browned autumn, arrives, watches
from the east window, waits,
goes out to him in spring,
taps him on the shoulder
and points to the pools
of water he's standing over.

Gordon Henry, Jr., "How Soon" from The Failure of Certain Charms: And Other Disparate Signs of Life. Copyright © 2008 by Gordon Henry, Jr.  Reprinted by permission of the author.