We dug a canal through our street in '93.
Schools closed, our eyes were
awake to the eleven o'clock sun
for the first time since January;
it reflected so strongly, we turned
our ski masks around backwards.
Our only other equipment: wool
mittens and grocery store bags
wrapped around our feet.

Erie at my side door, Albany at the end of the street,
we dug all afternoon, building a lock at Mr. Clinton's
driveway. When we reached Cayuga in Grampa's
front yard, a swamp fever of soggy gloves killed
our dream of uniting the neighborhood.

Now, that day is a shoeful of powder
dusting the floormat at the foot of the
stairs where I dropped my nylon boots;
the best part of me died in Cincinnati
when I threw them away, knowing they
would be useless where I was going.

Shovels and snowblowers, indifferent
as the St. Lawrence, phased out our canal
years ago — nothing left but a ski mask
still hiding
in the bushes
at Mr. Clinton's.
I take up in my bare hands what remains,
marry it to the drift at Grampa's.


Date created 01 Oct 2007
Date modified 01 Oct 2007
Journal Phoenix Literary Arts Magazine (Dec 2007)