my great-grandfather sits beside a frozen lake, looking in. around him winter blooms. he cuts a deck of cards on his knees. deals one hand for the ice, one hand for the sky. he eyes his own cards carefully, and constructs a birdhouse from the rest. the sky wins a hand. the ice folds. the birds make a nest in their new home and they lay some eggs. my great-grandfather is tired and has nowhere to sleep but underneath the sky. i whisper a story in his ear about little men who live in the clouds throwing buckets of snow. i tell him about how my cats watch birds at the feeder through the window of my house. i talk a lot of nonsense. we watch the birds and i name them after my parents. it is too bad my great-grandfather is deaf, because i think he would like my stories.