Thursday, January 24, 2013

Driving Toward Snow

digital art: ralph murre

Driving Toward Snow                                                                             by Sarah Busse

Rapt in thinsulate, ankle-
deep in popcans, napkins,
we tunnel under night’s
thin and starry scrim
that’s tacked to the horizon;
we tow jumbled shadows:

snowmobiles, skis and poles,
skates, snowshoes, the bulky
accoutrements of winter,
tools of survival for this
loose caravan of dozens,
hundreds, headed North.

For weeks, maps in hand,
scanning Dopplar online,
we’ve planned vacation (escape) –
tonight, as one, we go,
a hushed migration, sealed
against our goal: the cold.

And emerge only at Kwik Trips,
Kum & Gos, Amocos, saying,
“We’ve come in search of snow.
Have you seen it? Do you expect it?
Do you have any coffee?” But no,
the last folks in got the last of it.

Back out, then, into silence.
Eyes grow used, then unused
to the night. Dark and light
shapes unfold, flickering
at the headlit, unlit periphery.
The mind begins to drift

like snow would drift, wordless,
unaccompanied forms
shift and flow, follow
the night’s wind, or whim,
so that I turn to you and ask,
What is Hawaii at night?

After umbrellas in the drinks
are folded and ice cubes melted,
the ocean’s calm and palmtrees
only whisper, do flowers lum-
inesce under a waxy moon?
Do vowels float in the dark?

And do Hawaiians ever think
of Minnesota? Do they know
about storm windows,
or the difference between twenty
above and twenty below?
Would they wonder (and snowflakes

blossom on the windshield, now;
the wipers begin their soft erasures),
would they wonder at this?
Dozens, hundreds, all of us
turned to the night, to the North,
all of us driving toward snow.

~ first published in SLANT