Tuesday, December 6, 2011

After a Snowstorm at the Chapel


Today I ventured out in the wet
of an aftersnow morning,
thick, white, icy coverlets
topping the houses,
sliding off the roof-edges
in freezing slush,
bled from the icicles,
chemicals from a dropper.
Unruly pockets of frost
lay in rumpled white clumps,
in wet, jagged dragonbacks
over the porch.
Three lawn chairs
were lounging in the quiet
of a smooth ivory glaze.
like three white-haired men
with nothing to say.
The lawn was yet unbothered,
an uncut cake,
or a page before a poem.
Snowdrops like revolving mirrors
dripped off the arms
of silent pine trees,
a hundred liquid clocks
keeping time.
In the street, mud and snow
frothed together,
tire tracks
like the welts of a whip,
deep footprints like brands
on the back
of a brown and white steer.
Rivets of rivers in zig-zagging runnels
trickled through the streets
in watery braids.
Sparrows hopped
over the strange, cold carpet,
their marble eyes bewildered. It was
quite all right,
since nobody understood
where the wash of white
had come from,
or how it was
melting into spring.

I stared at the blank sheets before me,
hanging from the roofs
and spread over the ground
and snuggling into the trees,
ready for the sharp heads of shovels
to slice their arctic breasts,
and I stared at how
green shoots had already surfaced
from beneath the polar sea,
and I stared at the patch
of untouched vanilla
beside the chapel
where two lovers had etched
a heart into the snow.

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