The Poem I was Going to Write


The poem I was going to write had basic  

picturesque snow, but the “esque”

started worrying me, feeling catchy as

a Facebook post, and then I got overwhelmed

with posts and thought I might wait  

until there was enough snow to garner 

some hidden meaning. And then I thought 

“garner” was in Keats’s “To  Autumn,” 

and checked, but no, then I spent ten minutes 

trying to Google the poem that was creating 

my anxiety of influence. Then I had to 

shovel, in truth, trying not to mess up

the beauty, not reveal the dead grass 

but make a neat path through by spraying 

the shovel with silicone so the snow would 

slide sibilantly off. I started  worrying 

about “sibilantly,” feeling self-conscious, 

maybe guilty, definitely guilty, since really

it was my husband out there shoveling,

not me, while inside I was basically making 

airy nothings. Then I felt guilty for feeling

guilty, a traitor to my craft or art, so I 

tried harder to be strong, yet small enough

to fit through the crevices of flakes. Then

“crevices of flakes” made me wince, hearing 

in advance the faint snort of the critic. 

And made me feel naked, and suspecting

I used the world naked for salacious

purposes. So I put on my hat and scarf and 

slipped those small chemical hand warmers

into each glove and took care of the worst

by the curb, to save my husband’s back.

The plow pushes the dark ice and globs

of packed snow until they weigh enough 

to fall off just in front of our house, and

have to be dug out with a special hoe-like 

instrument and then flung upward into 

mountainous heaps on either side of our

sidewalk, which is no small task,  and explains 

why the poem I wrote kept trying to rid itself

of everything else, to get down to itself.