The Manhattan Review
The Manhattan Review
Established 1980

Archive > Vol. 8 no. 1


Bill Winfield



With a sharp shaft of winter
sun in your eyes,
you hand me a little doll you made me
when the snow would get too high.
as if on the edge of life,
the doll has a luminous quality
and is intricately carved
from a pale, cool substance
which, when you describe it,
is unknown to me.
I gaze deeply
into its strange light, which sings
like an angel, or a mummy, or an infant.
You say you made it on absolute nights
when there were no stars and no moon,
no motion in the dark trees,
only a huge solitude.
Looking closer,
I begin to recognize my own eyes
staring back, unfinished though,
like small clouds moving very high up.

Years, worlds
roll into a single instant of helpless love,
too near to bear,
and I fall into the sea from a high cliff,
wondering as my mouth meets
a white wave,
how many fathers I found
after I died.