A Prodigal Winter

Much could be made of winter’s first real flurry

(the way it breaks a bleakness up, disturbs

a desolation lately caked on curbs

and evening walkers, streetlights, leafless trees —

that morning whiteness breathes a baptized fury),

but wonderland dissolves in after-slush:

the goo-gray soggy puddle trudge, the freeze

of sidewalk spots at random and the rush

of rooftop avalanches lurching off.

The whole effect is like the dawning weight

you feel, and fight against, when falling out

of dreams that let you high-jump clouds and skate

through sky —

reality returns to flout

your snow-blind fantasy, to bind and scoff.

(Still, there’s this hope: the Lord sends other snows

till spring, the most real season, redeem our winter doze.)

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