THE NIGHT OF OCTAVIA
We are snug in the midst of the storm.
It seemed as if the snow would never stop
Falling through the day and into the night
And such cold as we rarely see in this country
That outsiders naively call the south.
But the walls hold and the lines are not broken
We have warmth and light and food
And college basketball
and watch the movement of this long and wide image
white, pink and green
bigger, even, than our State
Creep south to north, west to east
Across our computer screen.
There is no work tomorrow
So we watch the whole game
And after the last buzzer I go to the kitchen and see
That my job is undone
The trash is overflowing.
It’s midnight and seven degrees
And twelve inches of snow on the ground
So I must dress for this little stroll
Across the porch and patio
To the trash bins.
Boots, scarf, hat, coat and gloves
And the white bag pulled from the bin
and cinched tight
And I open the door and step out into this other world
Wild now, and extreme
I brace, thinking at first I will hold my breath
and have this done in an instant.
But with the first step I am mesmerized
By this cold, silent beauty
Nature’s proof, once again, that she is finally untamed.
If I am to stay dry, I must clear my path
And this cold snow, Rocky Mountain powder snow
Such as we here in the east rarely see
Explodes and vanishes with the stroke of a broom
Disappearing into the blue and black and midnight wind.
Beneath, the boards of the stairs are stiff and whine with my step
I clear the path, almost wanting to stay and know this mystery
To live in this new world where every evidence of human device
Is covered over
But I know my own weakness
And I shake the snow from the lid of the bin
And drop the white bag in
Kick the snow from my boots and dust my gloves
And go back into the yellow warmth.