Saturday, May 01, 2010

I've posted an autumn poem and a summer poem on this blog before, so figured I might as well add a winter poem to the mix. This past season in Pittsburgh was a particularly harsh one in terms of snowfall, and the piece below was born out of an excess of shoveling and an unfortunate tumble taken by my mom. For spring poems you'll have to turn to an actual poet, like Eliot or Larkin.


They said eighteen
and we wake to two feet.
When my dad opens the mouth
of the mailbox, it is packed
full. How in the hell
did that happen
, he says. I say
Must have blown in the cracks.

The stuff is dense
and spreads the yews wide
like spider legs. Dad shakes
the snowthrower when it clogs, shaving
inches from the edge
with each pass, any more
is too much. I stoop with a shovel
and take occasional cold drafts
from a coffee mug.

He calls upstairs
and I think how my mom slipped
this morning
and fell laughing and said
she thought her arm was broken.
She passed out
just inside the door, eyes flicking
up into her head, looking
like my sister did years ago
swollen and possessed and beautiful
wrestling with a coma. Black
instead of white
for the cast—it won’t show
dirt, she says—but we can’t worry about
emergency rooms now.

We help exhume
a neighbor’s car, and he thanks us
with a pair of bottled
microbrews. They are screwed
into a snowbank for later.
The man next door says the storm
disproves global warming.
We clear a path generous enough
for his bumper to swing out.

There are other things: ice
slabbed on my grandparents’ sidewalks,
my sister powerless, her husband
trapped in the country where he went to kill
coyotes, blood clots frozen
in my dad’s calf—Is he pushing himself
too hard?—the virus in my inner
ear that made words
split and tremble on the page. I could
go on. Everyone I know could
go on.

A plowtruck comes round
finally, chains knocking a dire kind
of music, and I see the white granular wave rising
and think of all those
I don’t know
hipping knee-deep through the drifts
and how easy it is
for the world to bury us.



Blogger Brenna said...

You perfectly walked a line between haunting and beautiful. Loved it.

10:52 AM  
Blogger Isolato said...

Thanks much, Bren. Kind of flies in the face of the winter wonderland idea, but I like it too. ;)

4:04 PM  
Blogger cellini said...

How can I feel so close and yet so hopelessly distant?
It's raw and and perfect.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Isolato said...

Thanks Uncle Rock. I remember having to write a "Poem of Restraint" for a workshop in college. That's sort of what I was after here.

3:43 AM  
Blogger cellini said...

cellini was me, Dor.
But I'll take that compliment:)

7:14 PM  
Blogger Isolato said...

Sorry Aunt Laura! It was the reverting back to the maiden name that fooled me. Naturally, I appreciate your feedback as much as anyone's. ;)

10:03 PM  

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