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13 Ways of Looking at Snow*

February 15, 2021

I.

Back to the window
untangling shadows, guessing
snowy branches are
arthritic fingers

knuckled by age and frozen
mid-reach.

II.

Where he’d shoveled snow
the sidewalk looked like feathers,
motion remaining

in the sweep of wings.

III.

Snow falling two ways:
as a shower of stars or
as all heaven
falling together.

IV.

Snow—verb and noun, snow
drifting and settling.

V.

A day in the sun
and snow sags—the fanciful
swans of morning

bent into old crones.

VI.

Are we supposed to
think snow real—
as itself—and not air
made ash?

VII.

Waiting for the bus,
the child cried to touch the snow
with hands his mother
held.

VIII.

Craters for each step.

Each intersection’s
bumpers of snow.

IX.

Powdered snow can’t
be made aphoristic—it
vanishes in gloves.

X.

The memory of her
saying they might snow
together.

XI.

The plowed snow stood
like improbable flames.

XII.

Under gray skies and
fitful snow, the last winter
bird thought of leaving.

XIII.

The old man dreamt of running
in the snow—melting from his core
until he became water

flowing through channels
he’d tired of leaping.

*After Wallace Stevens

Returning From Silence

November 26, 2017

IMG_2071A behemoth soars

from nowhere—the way it must

be in space—some thing

 

showing suddenly.

Do you remember meeting

at that strange corner—

 

recognition just

effective, our smiles just wrong

for coincidence?

 

What passed between us

was another ghost, spirits

spent and wandering.

 

A satellite looms, shadow

sweeping overhead.

 

 

Looking for You on Facebook

June 19, 2015

promI think

of what you must still

be lost by:

your once belief

in mythical beasts,

coins you found

and thought

could be unique,

the sky still blue

despite black,

empty branches, great

blocks of buildings,

shadowed and standing

mute, awaiting

conversation, brick-

a-brack of our days

and what we might

say about them.

You remember how,

when we loved,

we spoke, how

some moments—you

said—must tell

of memory fallen into

disrepair, how they

slipped and still

cried for attention.

The silences

we indulged, our

fractured attention

to words, ambient,

evident.

Conversation

May 27, 2015

snarlage“Infection,” you said, “this

notion ‘culture,’ something passed

as real, when, really,

 

it’s propaganda,

a sort of ought-to-be we’d

so love to be true.”

 

I could only see sun

giving dimension to your

irises, blue seas

 

beneath clear water.

Maybe losses are actual—

we’ll just lose ground, hold

 

what should be given. But you,

you are worth saving.

Construction

February 18, 2015

Many buildings stallEveryone marches

in my neighborhood—iron

rising from basements

x

dug before layers

of snow filled them. Fences can’t

conceal their undress,

x

which points to a sky

gathering to drop. Workers

shuffle, look up, and

 x

mumble jokes. Ventures

around here are relentless,

weather be damned. God

x

hasn’t squashed anyone yet

…or not in a while.

Dream Interpretation

February 8, 2015

IMG_0648Of everything dreamt, death matters—figures

lost, their faces abrading in decay

and frozen grins turning to gashes with

desiccation. You said so. To imagine

any demise is like ending time, which

no one dare do waking. No one will say

past, present, and future are separable.

No one wants their cable to unravel,

each strand reaching in supplication

only limbs manage. Close my eyes and still

time unwinds. Only in sleep will it stop.

You said night is for doing what we can’t,

and there is consolation: as long as

the sun moves, we move, shadows stretching.

Chiberia

February 5, 2015

doodleage327Snow lies in places

no one walks or drives, patches

or strips squared neatly

x

like paper—as blank,

as desperate—drifting rafts,

no port and color

 x

and no company.

The rest is cratered with steps.

Tire tracks of passage

 x

announce routes hearts take,

hurried between points, rhythm

in starting, stopping,

 x

moving on again, blind to

what waits for crossing.

Boy on the L

January 3, 2015

redlungThough you can’t quite look, his library card

is out, and everyone sees him survey

for thieves. The car lurches. It bucks gently

as if to keep the card in hand. Today

light comes crossways, signaling our movement

with its own. The boy twists to follow, cat

to mouse, and catches someone watching him,

wearing a smile of detection. They meet—

their minds do, as minds do—in common space

between. We passengers are witnesses.

He holds his card up to show her. She grabs

her wallet from her purse, shuffles, presents

its match. The next stop brings bodies’ exchange,

and they stay, one still fixed to the other.

The Meteorologist

December 20, 2014

sberryquickEvery night finds him

waving at a map, sweeping

winds across countries,

 x

anticipating

weather—how the air will feel,

how we will feel then.

x

Air isn’t always

the same weight, he wants to explain,

but can’t say what you

x

ought to know by now—

invisible rules govern

a snowy sky, still

x

as all else falls. His part ends,

and stars glare above.

My Geometry Teacher

December 10, 2014

squareshowingShe only ever overslept class once,

then appeared, her great cloud of hair windswept

as if all air moved just one direction

and not even she the right to resist.

My inward smile was for later—a quiz

whispered me onto its plain. Figures stood

amid the white, mute and cunning, meaning

to be met in order, no evasion

except dreaming. I pictured her husband,

hand to her shoulder, asking if she might

stay. They would know how to speak without sound,

would know what each blank said, the sun diffused

by morning until time cried for notice.

My pencil paused aloft, I left the page.