The snow teaches me separateness, the ice to be hard. Though I was born in the desert where the teachers are sand and rocks, I could not hear them for my youth. Now with youth spent I return to hear the sand admonish me for isolation and the rocks’ rebuke for a hardened heart. Now that the curls of time have been beaten out straight I seek a return to an earlier language – my own scrawny language, meager, unable to bear the weight of explanation, words too remote, isolated, underdetermined. The years have turned my ears to tin. My tongue is the knot behind my teeth. With age isolation calcifies, lost love becomes a window in the heart, language an uncertain chant, youth a snowstorm on the high desert plain.