Saturday, January 29, 2011

In the Cover of Snow

Like a mother
Blanketing her child
The snow fell
Over cars, houses, streets
Buildings where workers
Packed up their belongings
And trudged to their cars

Day after day the snow came
And when I woke the cars
Were not visible
Except as mounds
Like soft animals in slumber
All along Queensberry Street

Eric and I wrapped up warmly
And got the dogs
Corn and Blue
Their Beagle noses questing
Toward the outside
Where excitement always happened
Whether they created it or not

The whir of helicopters overhead
But otherwise the quiet
Buried under snow
The tops of street lamps showing
We made our way to the street
And walked, the dogs our companions

We saw some students on their skis
Whizzing by the empty streets
Laughter was in the air
Those few of us out for a stroll
Over mounds of hard packed snow
The dogs had visions of pizza
In their heads but even the garbage
Was buried

At last we reached Chinatown
My legs were tired
Feet were frozen
Laughter silenced by the trek
Eric never got tired
Fueled by methadone
And he stopped to watch
The dragon dance in the street
Because it was Chinese New Year
Of the Horse

And one café was open
Offering free dim sum to
Anyone hardy enough to be out
Cooked over Bunsen burners
Because all electricity would be
Out for two more days

We tipped them (I tipped them
Because Eric never had any money)
And then went out and bought
A dozen white candles
And a comic book for Miles
Who was visiting his grandparents
In Connecticut

And finally, back in the Fens, it
Was late afternoon and we took
The candles over to the old folks
Across the street where the
Famous radical pacifist lived
Who always wore a wool cap
A Sandown cap
That made him look rakish
Belying his compassionate heart

And we gave the candles to
The old woman who lived upstairs
And asked her to share with her
Neighbor in Apartment #1 who
Was deaf and never let anybody in
When they pressed the buzzer

That night the helicopters were gone
And even the dogs snored quietly
In the silence of the city
Under the blanket of snow.


(Poem based on the Blizzard of 1978 in Boston.)


A Word Witch said...

That was the blizzard that sent my friend Pam bailing out of Buffalo to move to Florida to teach! And the year I moved from FL to Berkeley. Thanks for this.

Stirling Davenport said...

Oh, it was a doozy, all right. I'm glad it tok you to Berkeley and Pam to Florida. We are all like little bugs walking across the globe.