Sunday, December 18, 2011


Chicago Winter

Winter people, people of parkas, flecked
beards, eyebrows dusted with flakes
and mist, people with necks craned
to concrete slick with mud and slides, ducking
winds that pierce their bones and paralyze.

Winter people, babies swaddled beyond
recognition, lumps of down, acrylic, wool,
zarapes, bunting balled into carriages navigating
walkways perilous with slush and hail, nannies
with eyes squeezed against pummels of chill.

Winter people, homeless men hunkered in
detritus, doorways dark and cramped, army
blankets damp from dew, sneakers brown from dirt,
broken sidewalks chapped by wind and ash, grizzled
lips pressed in prayer found again at last.

Winter people, gathered ‘round the open fire
roaring in the parking lot, orange tongues embracing
sticks and crumpled paper sacks thrown in and stoked,
asphalt warmed with embers that light the frozen night,
flames casting shadows gaunt against stone walls.

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