would we thaw?
the empty street suggests a holiday
i am last to observe
lights signal red then green then . . .
festive in the serenity
of a city's sentence commuted
to its sprawling slumber --
circadian imperatives ascendant --
would i have poetry
if it weren't for the snow?
this winter is
a guest blithely tardy
for his bacchanal
who finds only empty bottles
crowding ruined shrines
of tumbled hors d'ouevres;
a decomposed swan carved in ice
on its own puddled vestiges
bleeding its translucent chill;
the guests departed to bed
in twos and threes
(or the vomitorium
snowflakes scud along the sidewalk
converging on their inverse sodium shadows
and i shiver the illusion
of a thousand tiny demons preceding me.
(fling your bodies to the ground
to carpet my passage with your memory
o tranquil surrender
to the god concrete
a tenth of a degree too warm
to preserve you!)
in a courthouse doorway a wizened figure
palpably rank at five paces
packaged in a clear trash bag
curls into marble like a mother's thigh
and will not meet my eyes.
do i pass invisibly
or does he imagine himself
unseen and indifferent to my gaze
gently fingering the hem
of his saran serappe
in mute imploration for a warming
he can neither furnish nor fathom?