The Architect of Snow

By Michele Bannister

for Asakiyume

The architect of snow and stone

sculpts crystals into single perfect snowflakes

her solstice-gifts to eye and heart.

Her lenses are chill and crisp:

contact-correction to prisms' paradigm,

orienting souls to the slow creep of crystal-growth,

the angled jewels of cooling liquid.

Sublime; shattered in all shards,

ever absent from the moss-cushioned world,

she seeks not the rounded rock-runs left for lichen,

the great glassine groove-paths from gliding glaciers.

For her there are only all the ices, condensing:

the endless play of methane on nitrogen,

ammonia on water, crinkled carbonised crust,

limpid layers in diffuse depths, tints revealed

in the pale offerings of a day-distant Sun.

For those who visit, staying half an orbit,

she folds kindness into a viewpoint:

origami-intricate flowers of fractal petals

blooming into blackness under slow cosmic-ray rain.

They blossom fresh as frost-numbed pain

only once the world's atmosphere snows out again.


This poem was part of our 2012 fund drive bonus issue! Read more about Strange Horizons' funding model, or donate, here.


Michele Bannister has an uncommon fondness for distant worlds both small and icy. She lives in Australia, where she is working towards her doctorate in astronomy. Her poetry has appeared in Strange Horizons, Ideomancer, Stone Telling and other venues, in the Here, We Cross anthology (Stone Bird Press, 2012), and is forthcoming in inkscrawl and Goblin Fruit.

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