the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Liz Ahl

February 29

This latest ornamental snowfall
whites out the gash of rutted red road
that splits the empty pasture.
It laces the bent tan grasses
and sturdy treetop birds' nests
with powdery glitter.

Early morning's thin blanket
is quickly subdivided
by the rabbit who paws through
to winter stubble,
and the cat who stalks the rabbit,
and the busy dog who follows
each wild adventure she gets wind of,
and the distant cattle
plodding their daily signature
across a thousand acres
of fresh parchment,
and my own boot prints
to the mailbox and back.

By noon, the branches
will have dropped away their jewels,
and red streaks of road
will be revealed again.
By two, the mail truck
will have come and gone,
and the feathery cirrus
will have been blazed away
from the cornflower sky.
By four, everything
will be loose and dripping,
and the cat's back will be warm
from basking and the dog's paws
will be muddy from the ochre road
and perhaps in the mail
a letter I've waited for
or, at the desk, a poem I've waited for.

It's an extra day, an ordinary gift:
twenty-four hours
and one more clean slate of snow.



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