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snow in kashmir

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My ancestor, a man of Himalayan snow, came to Kashmir from Samarkand, carrying a bag of whale bones: heirlooms from sea funerals. His skeleton carved from glaciers, his breath arctic, he froze women in his embrace. His wife thawed into stony water, her old age a clear evaporation. This heirloom, his skeleton under my skin, passed from son to grandson, generations of snowmen on my back. They tap every year on my window, their voices hushed to ice. No, they won’t let me out of winter, and I’ve promised myself, even if I’m the last snowman, that I’ll ride into