I only desire, after brushing
teeth, after Whittier and a nap
that hit me unintended
after an early breakfast out with friends,

to sip warm coffee and eat
a cookie from the bakery,
to watch my car’s curved roof
fade under fresh snow.

And all that in the fifteen
minutes between obligations.
I wonder how long these snowflakes
live before hitting bottom,

and whether we should count them
blessed or cursed. They do not
“bind” me, really, not like Whittier’s
mythic family, engraved in the rural

schoolboy’s recitation-brain
of my grandfather. I soon
will push through the powder
of what now falls. Shadows

are etched in their crystal bulks—
we enjoy them from a distance
when we can, dark roast on our tongues,
white missives to distract the eye.

                  —John Linstrom

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 38 Number 6, on page 30
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