Sorry, sometimes the best and most romantic stories we can make up don't end the way we might hope. This is a response to this letter.

Hello, I received your pigeon. An amazing bird of rainbow colors; so few I have known know where to go. I will return him to you; I hope that he will find his way.

I wandered on to your camp the other day, and I was so glad, my heart flooded for the mere promise of a world other than mine. And then I saw you, your raw flesh pink in the darkness and your long, black hair a net with trailing threads, waving in the wind but always centered on your small head. I saw your smile flash now and again behind that eddy, and your teeth were brilliant in a small mouth.

You were enjoying the snow.

I guess you don't know what a snow drift means to me, who have for so many years waded through the darkness of ice and longed for the brilliance of the sun.

I was there, next to you, and I was pleased with your joy, but did you think what it means to me to look at the cold, the everyday, that is constant and unchanging in my life? If I have seen snow, I have seen it piled over my life: I have seen the smallest flake on my textbooks for school and I have seen it rising in drifts when I went to a funeral. A wedding is dug out of the banks, and the few green trees I have seen in my life were pushing only the most pitiful, shriveled buds out from behind hard ice. That cold ice is everywhere: we build our houses in it.

I admit I have taken a feather from your pigeon, or more than one: the green that is familiar from those striving trees, and orange, that I only see as the sun sets. It only flinched a little, and a single drop of blood fell on the snow.

So I have a calendar that advances. It tells me from a history unknown to me that I will always see this world. I will dig, and I will dig, and you wonder why I might want to rise above it into the clouds that are made of small drops of water; they melt in the sun, but nothing melts here. My stomach, like the ice, is one hard, twisting space, without release.

But you beckon to me. You beckon to me with your beautiful vision of what great expanse, a world of emptiness that is warmed by the sun, where the beginning becomes the end over and over.

Your birds are dirty, and you ride naked. I will cut into my dark expanse of ice and go to sleep, but never forgive that you thought you were better.