Layers of a night

The blue-white moon shines over the city
shimmering the snow,
frozen now for days where once it cascaded,
drifting across streets and yards and roofs,
now monuments and mountains tower, stoic.

Silver stars twinkle piecemeal in the lit-up sky
(only the brightest ones)
below, yellow lights flicker across the faces
of apartment buildings and office towers;
the stars and lights dance, rhythmless,
while steam rises then hangs limply in the frozen air –
frozen spectres.

Reeling from the cold, we recede indoors
sliced by moonlight, the room of this old house glows
swaying in candlelight soft and gold
wrapped in exotic scents – spices and dried fruit –
that taste of deserts and sun and frankincense;
swallowing thoughts,
they turn palate to substance.

Beyond the immediacy of taste and smell,
the people, all darkened eyes and sparkling shawls,
beguile, languid in their gestures.
We are all somewhere else,
someone else,
together but apart,
apart from the winter seeping though the windows and cracks,
apart from ourselves.

What is it that winter does
to alienate, even as we come together?
We turn inside ourselves
sink deeper, further than this moment
seeking a warmth
hidden inside.

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