Snow Politics

You want to wrap a giant sparrow in cellophane,

but I'm sick of your island of bows,

the Great Wall of China

an expensive ribbon for horizon.

Imagine the photograph of its migrant worker

superimposed over decadence, his hands blistered

like the Metro's ants for ammonia.

In North Dakota everything is a joke.  A chicken

tied in the town square, its wings like irises

above the crowd, is about to die, become a memorial

to thwarted flight.  The world's largest hen

scoffs at the skinniness of its neck.

In a remote field, there's a plaque that reads,

Scandinavian Pride: World's Largest Wooden Cow.

Its udder is still under construction

after the mighty snow stalled the roads.

This landscape of giant animals must be

the memory of a child.  Its garbage hooves

are bigger than Jesus, the vision of his hand

building yet another farmer

to be crushed under plows.  The flock of steel geese

migrates, this time, to a place where people

have forgotten how to write anything

but their names.

* * *

In your desire, you sympathize with German-Russians

but refuse to eat the toxic cod soaked in lye.

You can only pay so much attention to snow,

its blank stare like the old garter belt

tucked into the mattress.

The locals buy you a drink and smile

when you misunderstand.  In my mind,

you're always dreaming farmers onto the plains,

laughing at their laughable Os,

but you read the newspaper the same way.

To you, there's nothing funnier than an Olie and Lena anecdote,

but is their pitiful marriage a sham?  Olie's mistress

works at Woolworth's and collects marble

cat figurines.  After nine, she watches her lover step away

from the security exit of the rifle store,

slowly counting his cigarettes, oblivious

to the cold.

In North Dakota cars come with an umbilical cord.

Being a ghost among women, I agree

that weather is your only wife.

To think of us together in a bar

discussing the news, how

it happens every year.

Anymore, your postcards don't make sense.

I read them without considering the broken grammar,

not catching the water in your vowels.

Last night I sat between bricks and thought

of this hospital stationery on fire,

signed, Best, I am alone in your linen knot,

I hope your farmhouse is burning like the Sunday paper.

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