Child Inside Glass

Inside the paperweight, a present
from my mother and father so long ago,
I let the snow settle to the bottom
where it lies in a dirty heap,
the snow's so old,

and the child inside emerges,
a faded monument in a park,
her finish almost worn off from sudden
storms; she notes the iron clouds
still above her, notes the face cowled
with grey hair that leans toward her

from time to time while she, like a model,
stands silent, still, in her little, white world,
while a primitive hum, like wasps,
comes to her occasionally
flaring up, retreating as if she had
removed her orange mittens and put
her thumbs in her ears. She wonders

about the world outside her cave--
what if that world should collapse
and only she be left? She studies the problem,
breathing so softly no one can see,
and she begins quickly, when the light
is turned off, to alter her
landscape snowflake by snowflake.

—Peg Lauber, Eau Claire, WI