The snow chips away. Slashes of wet and ice everywhere. No brown. No dried grass. There was a path of food coloring where she and the child pretended to leave bread crumbs. “Be quiet,” she whispered to him, “Don’t let the abominable snowman find you.” He’d been frightened then, wanted to go in. Not surprising. A sensitive child, he cried out each morning at 3:30, “Come to me, Mama. I’m scared. I’m scared.” She’d tried to distract his thoughts so they might stay in the cold air and tire out. “Look at the snow and how it sparkles.” She pointed up to the roofline. “Look how the light shines through the icicles.” The sun was low in the naked tree branches, burning its way west. But no, the sun does not move; we move. Her child’s eyes were on the path behind them, watching. She looked, too. There they were: the silver claws, the yellow teeth. The abominable snowman was nothing but a sandbox cover leaning up against the house, dusted with snow; the turtle’s eyes shone through, blinded by ice.



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