I’m shivering –
can’t hold myself tightly enough and there’s no one else to hold me.
It snowed last night on the spring equinox.
It only snowed once in New York this past winter –
that day, three full moons back, when I returned from Boston
to spend my first night in Brooklyn.
It fell in drifting, tiny, crisp, wispy flakes
that melted when they struck the concrete
and the earth of the city
while it was snowing
in drifts up and down the east coast
shutting down whole swaths of automated New England
killing electricity for thousands
killing several who were inadequately housed.
My first night in Brooklyn was cold.
I fashioned a bed from a piece of sheetrock laid across cement cinderblocks,
and covered it in some of my warmest clothes.
My overcoat was a blanket.
I lit some candles.
there was no heat, no bath, and no electricity.
there was a toilet and a sink that gave no warm water
and I watched it snow and considered the english language
There is no snow where I am from.
There, it is either wet or dry and usually it is too hot to be outside for long.
Now, I have traveled far from where I am from
and have seen many things and kinds of things.
I have, along the way, learned new words.
I have heard english-speaking people say, in amazement:
“the Inuit have more than 30 words for snow.”
and that day in Brooklyn I wondered how
english could have snow for millennia
and yet have only one word
for the many different kinds of falling white
I’ve seen –
the cold, browzy, white haze at great heights
the soft, gentle quiet of an empty field
tiny flakes and slippery ice
hard rains of sleeting shards.
english has been arrogant.
It just feathered that day.
It was just a little feathering down.
a feathering of