The first snow came last night
I looked out on it before dawn
The light, fine dust of it
Cradled in the grass on the lawn
And the first glimpse of it carried me away
Like the scent of woodsmoke
From some mountain chimney
That floats on the evening breeze
Hinting of another life
Or that first phrase from some jazz standard
From the nineteen-forties
That you hear just as you turn the radio dial
What was that song? And you can’t get the station back
And you strain not to forget those few notes you heard
And scan memory for the rest of it
And think of lives and romances
(Women who slow-danced to that tune. Their men who did their bit)
That are nowhere now but in photographs
In dusty scrapbooks.
And the tall girl with sandy hair
That you met at summer camp
How many years ago
What was her name.
The first snow reminds of those days
When closed windows fogged up
From steam from the pots on the stove
Mother was so young then
And our childish thoughts
Went for the first time to Christmas.
Look at the new snow in the grass
The light powder
Look quickly; it will be gone by noon.