Tuesday, April 22, 2014

April is National Poetry Month

I finished the first draft of my next novel, Vague and Broken Boy, in the last days of March, and because I wanted it to sit a while before I did the second draft, I committed to writing a poem a day for April. Here's the one I wrote yesterday:

We don't have many words for snow here
Oh, we get some all right
We have flurries sometimes in December
Or in January
Even once in a while in March

And every third or fourth year
We have real snow
Steady falling white
That covers the roofs
And the yards
Piles up against the kitchen door
A few inches worth
Enough to stop traffic
In a city with few plows
And a ban on salted roads
And there's a stampede
Of grocery buying
And parents scrambling
For daycare options
Or taking precious personal leave days
To be home
With the snowmen builders
And snowball throwers

But today's snow isn't like that
Although the wind off the mountain
Is chilly and smells of the deep drifts
That it's harbored since December
And although the sky is laden with clouds
It's not the clouds that are
Dropping the dancing white wind passengers
It is the three old trees
That mark the border of
Neighbor and neighbor

For April is not the cruelest month here
But one of the loveliest
And the cherry snowfall
Blankets the yard and the sidewalks
Runs down the gutters
Into splayed-out bouquets
In the flower beds
Blows in and speckles
The red cotton cushions on the terrace
Swirls in when the front door opens
Rides in white against the black
of Tuxedo Nellie's glossy fur

And while the arrival of the cherry snow
Depends on the mildness of the late winter
It comes every year
As dependable as the winter rain
As the reds of Indian summer

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