Amazingly Warm for January
Four degrees. The snow is old,
becoming dirty over time, no fresh snowfall
to keep it pristine, Underneath
there is a layer of ice, hidden, deadly
if you are not mindful when you walk.
Look across the fields you see tracks.
Coyote. Deer Turkey, Something else
you don’t recognize, showing your city roots
even after all these years.
You remember your father.
His dislike of all things Northern.
A knee jerk born of time and place
that never held water. Our cousins
from Spanish Harlem were his favorites,
But still, he bitched when you came here,
sure I was entering the gates of hell,
I remember his first, and only trip here.
He was declining then, memory fading
but somehow still able to drive the day’s journey
from Virginia to Vermont. I remember
his surprise at the fields of tall corn,
so like the Surry County fields he grew up in.
I remember his lingering
in the small grey church on the corner
with its paneled walls and gothic arches.
Intimate, like his (and my!) childhood chapel.
His eyes were misty. And for once,
it was not the encroaching dementia, but memory.
The next time I would see him, he would be complaining again,
the tropes of his younger years all he could remember.
You blink. Your eyes watering in the cold.
At the time you came, it was for love,
a love that failed and left you here.
And here you stayed. Amazed that you found
love of a different kind here. Amazed
that you, with your wandering spirit, have stayed,
that you become part of the rocky soil,
that you have buried your pain here. Your sorrow.
Your hopes betrayed and lost dreams, happy as you drive
through the snow-covered fields, for the new crops
you know lie just beneath the thin sheen of snow.
It is time to stop your gazing,
time to work. amazingly warm for January.
About this poem.
Simply a poem of gratitude. The picture was taken just up the road from me. And it really is 4 degrees right now.