zero visibility

Stretched and layered
high over plate tectonics
another instability waits–
this one of air
and almost frictionless,

but sky fall is gentle;
a heavy, frozen silence
each piece unique
as the reaction to it

the radio chants its litany of closings
and reasons not to drive,
almost recommending that wait
with a 6-pack and a game on
in beery hibernation
like a mayor used to say
as we taste ice on our lips
carried into air from the north
though not that far–
I can see Canada’s fireworks
in the summer and have seen
aurorae sometimes in winter,
fresh and forged new, but not with heat–
a green that burns
with the hiss of liquid nitrogen.

We listen for lake-effect thunder
snow-lightning, we called it
always softer than her summer sister
while children shape snowmen
and angels. Dark comes early
this side of solstice, so I call them in.

The Eskimo
have over 100 words
for this whiteness, their world defined
by this color and texture
to this one I know, and it covers
all definition with the same ice
where the wind picks up.

Outside this valley, in another place
I have been snow-swallowed and blind,
where eyes fail and the only way known
is to what is down, under boots
because what is up or across
cannot be seen and only hoped for:
visibility measured no farther
than my fingertips
and even that debatable
reminding me of the exercise
where a circle is drawn, measuring exactly only
the space this body occupies–that is the extent
and locus of any control I have

this small circle of me
is all I know and can own:
that is what snow teaches
and each year I am reminded.

***A little poetic license as far as the AB is concerned–I believe I was in Canada when I saw those.

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About Susan L Daniels

I am a firm believer that politics are personal, that faith is expressed through action, and that life is something that must be loved and lived authentically--or why bother with any of it?
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10 Responses to zero visibility

  1. archcardinal says:

    The poetry of the plate tectonics never really end well. Their shift is often marked in Elegies, dirges and laments… White christmas doesn’t exist here by we can guess how it really feels.

    Here christmas is quite brown, dusty and a bit nippy sometimes… Let’s just stick with the white christmas. Sounds a bit fun…

    • Hi Obinna–it certainly is fun–It just means I am making spaghetti carbonara instead of using a tomato sauce, because while I love to play in it, I cannot stand driving in it and refuse to go to the store until everything is all plowed and salted into submission, probably sometime tomorrow. Snowmen–yes. Skiing–yes. Snowmobiling–yes. Driving–heck no.

  2. cfbrown (कवि) says:

    this is masterful, the imagery the use of language, canvas, tool and pain all in one. only then punctuated by:

    “this small circle of me
    is all I know and can own:
    that is what snow teaches
    and each year I am reminded.”

    this poem is an example of what is meant by “the art of poetry” I like this alot

  3. annotating60 says:

    Susan, I think the bones of this poem are extremely good.

  4. Final stanza blew me away..yes, yes and yes…That small circle of you really knows how to express itself. Beautiful

  5. nelle says:

    Too true, so simple, yet so hard a lesson to learn.

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