The Paperboy Sees No Wonder in It—
the Snow Giving off the Only Light at 6 AM
The boy could have lived forever
sliding down a hill, after watching cartoons.
Now the only cartoon is himself falling
through drifts to the corner,
where he’s one bundle binding
himself to others by snapping open
their plastic straps and sitting
among the papers. He rolls them
into funnels, slips them into plastic sheaths,
while the first house tugs at him,
and he gets up, his steps a kind of
wandering from house to house,
each one rounded at the corners
and snow whipping up into snarls.
The trees in the yards are all spine
and hardier than he,
but then he turns smug,
seeing the trees now as mere skeletons,
just as a truck pulls up,
and a tall, lean milkman
steps from the door,
each big expanse of hands gripping
three bottles of milk,
unflustered and streamlined,
adding more white to winter,
and the boy adds to it as well,
by kicking snow up
with his boots and snarling back,
and with aplomb dropping papers on porches,
on front steps and in mailboxes,
though this morning
he’d rather see the snow, like the milk sees it,
through windows of a house—
and he laughs—an all glass house.
On a Blustery November Morning
in Front of His Parents’ Hardware Store
a man whose mouth
has been open in awe for over forty years,
a void filled by a cigar
unlit and blindly probing.
His good looks lack
all of the trimmings.
I’m in my 40s, too,
and with ragged steps attempt
to slip past him,
but the wind robs me of my cap;
I dance back for it,
and when I spin around, he’s before me
with his lopsided grin,
“Uhhg,” he motions, stirring
the air with his unlit stogy.
I relax into his will,
as he unbuttons the top button
of my coat,
the collar with shaky fists,
lets go with one fist
as he fumbles into his
pocket for a lighter
and pats it into my palm.
Grasping the button side
with one hand, the hole side
with the other,
he draws me close like he
will talk tough.
Instead, when I flick
his cigar tip until it lights,
there is in the space
the stillness of a church,
where no harsh wind whips or spins.
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