This poem appears in the Summer 2020 issue of Modern Age. To subscribe now, click here.

The snow does not fall from the heavens pure,
Unblemished, to be sullied by the ground;
The cold stars’ lacework arms are ringed around
A hidden heart of filth within its core.
The oyster’s pearl, which glimmers in its shell
Of snot-slick stone, a jewel within the slime,
Itself is layered, one foul mote of grime
The seed which nacre’s skillful shine hid well.
This fault is not rejected—rather, nursed
By cotton clouds, and swaddled in the wind.
It spins itself a suit of crystal clothes
That well recall the smut in last year’s snows;
As, in the heart of Eden, all men sinned
When Adam sinned, and likewise all were cursed.