JLC (1967 / Galesburg, Illinois)

Snowstorm

1

Sheets of white
fight like schoolboys
for first place
atop a drift
fall on each other
struggle for dominance
how easily they are swayed
into the fight
trying to impress the wind
to catch her breath
breath that drives a battle

2

Two sheets
stand upright
meet mid-air
dance in a circle
spinning round
tunneling like lovers
sheets connect
a scattering collision
like a fanblade
spinning free

3

Survival for the cow
depends on a system
she tucks her head
like a nun in prayer
as the pitiless winter
surrounds her
spitting cold darts
into eyes, nose, and ears
penetrating leather
needles of icy air
zoom through meat
reaching bone
liquid life hurries through
the unsheltered body
which may be
efficient enough
to sustain life

4

I once saw a sow
stopped—mid-stride
two feet barely raised
icicles hanging
from snout and ear
system failed
blood froze
on its way to the heart
white sheets
were not warm enough
to save her

5

The Buffalo once
stood strong
against the wind
frozen fur clumped
into snowballs
that hung for weeks
like navel rings
or boyscout badges
for bravery
acknowledgement of
Darwin’s theories

6

Deep in a pore
of the earth
the still
breathing toad
sleeps in a hard
muddy knapsack
entered upon indication
of white skies
crystalline winds
glaring surfaces
a solitary slumber party
missing make-up
and schoolgirls

7

Acrylic covered trees
crackle in sunlight
reflected from within
each exposed surface
as if plugged directly
into the sun
lights without a holiday
shine without approval

8

Without snowboots
the coyote slips
over indifferent
winter-covered fields
that disregard
his requirement to eat
he searches for feeble prey
or ill-fated organism
who could not endure
his burdens intensify
pursuit’s impossible
his life transferred to
four fortunate vultures

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Robert Frost

Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening

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