Alchemy

Dusk traces pink along the cloud-tops. 
I burrow my hands deeper into pockets, 
mittens forcing fingertips
to shiver against each other. 

From high on the citadel’s peak, 
the Danube curls away like smoke.     
Slowly, blue hills fade into sky,
and the city begins to gild its edges. 

Children are tossing coins
one by one into the river, 
watching them turn auric
beneath the bridge’s shadow.

As cathedral lights flicker on, 
I think of a mother tucking her son
into bed, pulling up the blankets, 
turning out the lights. 

A brightness left under the door. 
The assurance that someone still awake
is readying for sleep –
removing a necklace, a bracelet, a ring.