Gossips of crows chatter on telephone lines;
Call long distance to anyone in town
who has not yet heard the news.
The first blizzard is on its way.
It is like this every year when late
November decides it’s had enough
and is ready to give up to the bully
who lives the next month over.
So, it makes its final exit at just
the moment you would least expect.
In town, talk of accumulations, school closings,
whether the graveyard shift of the paper mill
will let out early has become the drift
of every conversation. Down at the café,
men stir their coffee and memories
of big ones that took place, years, decades
ago. They add inches with each retelling
until it is a wonder that the stuff
ever melted at all. And then it comes;
stops all conversation in its tracks.
First, in a flurry of slowness, flakes turn
somersaults in windless air, then heavy,
out of breath, but still, without a sound.
An inch, two inches an hour until, stopping
traffic, if there ever was any, it leaves
every town in the county to fend for itself.
It is an artist, that gives hats to cars, beards
to parking meters: even barbed-wire
seems to have a sense of humor. And on
the Main Street that cuts through towns,
empty, silent, save for the soft,
muffled grind of a sand truck,
it gives the vacant, boarded- up
stores, one beautiful excuse, if just
for today, why people aren’t here anymore.
Photo header by Mark Bonica