Wednesday, October 21, 2009

First Snow

Rain for almost 20 hours, and now snow. The only thing better than rain here in the high alpine desert is snow. Carmen and I have declared the first snow an annual holiday. She’s at school today enjoying hot chocolate & pumpkin carving with her fabulous teacher. Here’s a poem I wrote six years ago on the occasion of the first snow. It makes for great light in my studio.

First Snow

The first snow coming in from the West
extinguishes the lights of the city

We can’t see further than across the street
Carmen worries that our city won’t return
I wish it wouldn’t
We can’t see the coyotes padding softly
on their nightly mission
the bears up in the watershed, agitated by hunger
stupefied by the urge toward sleep
We can’t hear traffic sirens the band down at El Farol

Here in the cradle of the storm
There’s nothing but snow and wind
A wavelike rhythm, now to the East now to the West
and breath

Silver light, cloud-refracted
beams in through water-laced glass
I lie in bed trying to recall the last time I lay in love’s embrace
I recall the last four years’ first snows
where I was, what I drank, ate, nature of conversation, with whom, quality of light, nature of snow
Do I miss the embrace I can’t remember
the touch that left less
of an impression upon my skin than the texture and water content of snow?

Like Carmen misses the city she can’t see

Years ago my Spanish teacher translated “to miss”
echar de menos
“to be struck by the lack of”

I’m struck by the lack of an embrace I can’t recall
by the years between me and a caress that conveyed
not ownership nor need nor desire, but something else

The storm moves East
The city returns intermittently
Ice crystals whip the streetlamp’s now softened haze
Carmen, in dinosaur pajamas, breathes deeply

Between warm sheets the urge toward sleep
stupefies with the softness of cloudlight
Who could embrace me like all of this?

A question, struck by the lack of an answer

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