The snow stuns the sky into quiet only the lake understands, restive beyond the gray stone breakwater. Across the street, my neighbor knows a green hope weaves a wooden trellis over a fresh-powdered walk, his jacket, a plaid patch on the shed doorknob. His brown daughter sprouts bud breasts under her sweatshirt; twirls tendrils of dark braids, then steadies the plank with both hands as her eyes follow his hammer's arc. * In her, I am twelve again, New Year's Eve: my mother and I sleep early”she, in their pink room, I where my brother and I share bunks, walls not repainted pre-war blue when we move in, little floor space for second-hand chairs, desks, chests-of-drawers. Weak springs give as sheets twine her ankles. Pillowing in premature wishes, we fear silver bullets in my neighbor's pistol, his bayou way of killing earthbound ghosts when the old year dies, * and so it goes. The last slats nailed in place, the girl trails her father into a house aflame with saffron light of melting snow, holy surprise getting past the silence. A nighthawk perches sideways in the ash like a bundle of wet leaves, unfurls her wings, then lifts into air I thought too cold for flight.