Monday, September 19, 2016

Winter 1972 by Michael Paul Hogan

Winter 1972


The grass blades
on the lee side of the house
were crisp
as over-starched linen;

walked on they crunched
like gravel, lapped
by a tongue of snow that shelved
to deeper water.

By mid-morning
the bird prints were arranged
in neat, vertical columns
like Chinese writing. The sky

was the color of boiled rice.
Meanwhile, my father,
decked out like a submarine
commander, practiced his short irons

on the drawing room carpet.
Keeping his eye on an imaginary ball
he fantasized a succession
of six-inch putts.

“Don’t go too far,” he said, my hand
already pulling shut the screen door.
I imagined the distraction causing him
to slice one in a greenside bunker.

Outside
the air was tense as stretched elastic.
The frozen river had the scrubbed-clean look
of a fishmonger’s table.

With ruthless efficiency
a snow plow
filleted
the boned road bare.


Born in London, Michael Paul Hogan is a poet and journalist whose work has appeared extensively in the USA, UK, India and China. His most recent collection of poetry, Chinese Bolero, illustrated by the great contemporary Chinese painter Li Bin, was published in 2015.

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