Another egg cracked, another omelet browning, flipped in a pan.
The north wind this morning tastes
of breakfast blown from Canada.
We agree that cast-iron pans cough up the finest omelets. We agree to welcome the snowstorm
with smiles concealing our age.
Distinctions between city life and rural life no longer matter now that the holiday season booms
like a tragic old circus tent. Tall pines nod. Leathery oak leaves
rattle and clot on the driveway. You perch on a stump and observe.
Why omelets? you ask with your hands
puddled like tidepools in your lap.
The wind swaggers with its freight of dolor. Today the omelet seems like the better option since we have a dozen eggs fresh
from chickens that don’t know better.
Instead of prowling our badly
surveyed perimeter let’s duck
indoors and unfold our psyches
for comfortable places to sit.
Then I’ll crack a couple more eggs,
beat in a little milk, heat the pan,
and render a perfect half-moon
crisp on the outside, moist inside,
like the expression you sported
the moment you birthed yourself
in a sparkle of honest wit.
Your Snow Tunnel
You’ve built a portable tunnel of chicken wire packed with snow.
Ten feet long, easy to carry. We place it on Boston Common in a troubled winter gale and crawl
through ten feet of sudden calm and emerge in MacArthur Park in the heart of Los Angeles under a statue of Prometheus. Palm trees, bursts of greenery, greet like political handshakes. I wish we could walk around the lake,
but it’s warm, and if the snow of your tunnel melts we’re trapped in California’s naked glare. So we reposition it, crawl through,
and emerge in Civic Center Park in Denver, facing the capitol with its gold dome winking through
the rugged grain of a blizzard. Rather than a Greek figure, the nearest public sculpture is a huge red chair with a tiny horse perched on it, staring fearless
into the blowing mountain weather.
In the art museum we slurp coffee from pottery mugs and plan our next crawl. Maybe
someplace we’ve never been,
Billings, Casper, Boise or Pierre.
You fear right-wing conspiracies,
though, and prefer a city
used to apparitions like us. So we re-enter the tube and crawl to Grant Park and emerge in view of frozen Lake Michigan. Ice has heaped in house-sized chunks
and slabs, glittering in sunlight the color of last year’s underwear.
We agree that Chicago’s a hometown
worth coming home to, the streets
woven too firmly for dream-lives to unravel. On State Street we sit on stools at a big steamy window
and watch pedestrians in parkas
shiver along in quickstep. After a lunch of scrambled eggs
we return to the tunnel and point it
straight toward Boston although
we’ll have to crawl under
the Canadian border twice,
emerging ten feet later, only
slightly altered by inhaling more distance than we can digest.
William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His work has appeared in various journals. He has taught writing and literature at Emerson, Goddard, Boston University, and Keene State College. His new poetry collection is A Black River, A Dark Fall. He writes a blog and his Twitter handle is @wdoreski