Reserved Seating for the Snow
[wpaudio url=”/audio/march11/mcdonald.mp3″ text=”listen to this poem” dl=”0″]
It must be blasphemy, in late February, to declare my infatuation with the snow
in Chicago. On Carmen Avenue, the city is quiet, three blocks over a car alarm
the whole of the night is pale, the trees, the cars, the driveways and roads all
made beautiful, so I decide to walk out and make the first tracks, the first steps in
where snow falls upon snow like that’s all the world has ever known or wants
I am the pilgrim, the pioneer, and the snow a muffler, a cape, a drape, a change,
here come two guys holding hands, homosexual, at least in the snow, and look,
an old lady
walks a little white poodle, as if she keeps the snow on a red leather leash and
lets the snow
sniff the snow. A hipster mounts his bike, and launches himself into the slush
and CTA buses
on Clark Street, and I hope he doesn’t fall under the blades of someone’s sleigh.
A lanky dude’s
dreadlocks become interwoven with snow, moments after he’s gone inside he’ll
become a prince
crowned with silvery droplets, on this night for black overcoats this night
and hand-knitted mufflers, this night that smoothes the sharp antlers
of the trees—
until the salt trucks roar through, let’s declare the entire neighborhood a chilly
for some tentative and tender kingdom of God. Black bench at the bus stop?
for the snow. The local street musician, a beggar with Tourette’s? His trumpet
his shoulders decked, he curses the snow because he can’t help it.
on the street? Boulders in the meadow right next to the glacier. A runner,
steam? Clearly, the man is insane. Black Labradors in the snow. Their noses
they are the first investigators to arrive on the scene, and report back
to the Committee of Unexpected Happiness.