Bust of a Young Boy in the Snow

Sarah Gorham

Odd place for a sculpture—
cemented to a newel post
on the front porch,
disarming the winter visitor
who wanted a good grip
and not this unsettling head
floating waist high.

Lips apart, ear like a split
oyster, rough erosion
crawling up his nape
and, over the cheek,
a verdigris birthmark.
Thankfully, his metal’s

well beyond cold.
Souls may be stored
on planets, said Plato,
each of them mindfully
sowed in a star.
I think there’s a live one
in every snowflake

falling for a shoulder,
the tip of a warm tongue,
better life in the new
world. They accumulate
on the child’s brow,
his flat-topped hair,
tarnished dimple and fold

of neckskin. They bunch up
on his Northeast side
like shivering immigrants.
The result is something to behold—
an elephant boy, a misshapen,
Phantom of the Opera mask
covering half his motionless face.
How often resurrection’s

a slight miscalculation
of past, present, and future.
A cow nudging its dead
calf. A little boy’s eyes
in winter,
opened rigid and wide.