“But for their cries,
The herons would be lost
Amidst the morning snow.”
– Chiyo Ni (1701-1775)
Toward the end of a sugar-lined bend in the road,
the ice is slush. Contoured midnight cars
have turned powder into slurry,
and the huge trucks with their maws of tin
reveal the comfort of tar.
Maybe if it was summer, the traffic lights
wouldn’t knock together this way.
A sudden wind, a gust of white
smatters my nose in distant howls,
and fourteen inches rise in a level mattress.
Piled on tables like birthday cake, over
stairs and handrails,
they invite a cacophony of neon jackets,
drains blocked with distant seasons.
the hills are blinded, kids on flattened bowls
race toward the bottom amongst cold black trees
that vein into the sky.
Laughing at nothing in particular,
they scream in long-held catharsis,
throats suddenly free from our warmth.
Hands find their way into pockets
and other hands. Gloves spark.
Maybe if it was summer, happiness
would taste like grass and skin.
Toward the end of a blanketed bend in the road,
the ice is slush. Morning, afternoon,
evening, dawn. Boots have trampled
across the white, mud lines the cake
The huge trucks with their maws of tin
reveal the discomfort of black
amongst hillocks and fields
of snow. Utility isn’t as beautiful
as letting be- maybe summer would know that.
“Got a twenty?”
The shovel scrapes,
quite suddenly tired
and out of breath. Its tall beard watches me,
eyes wide and expectant.
A small mound nearby
composes itself to whisper
something only I can hear.
The wind contorts,
I walk away.
Maybe if it was summer,
but it’s winter now.