Weather Reports Promise Snow


A day of ceremony, a day of time and place.
Parked outside the elementary school
waiting for a grand daughter. Tomorrow we ski
and there’s fresh snow at White Pass
with more coming. Just back from the immigration
celebration and swearing in, quite a statement,
Do I say that? as the words come out,
catching up, a bit late, tumbling into the room.
Our friend Luz, and her son, citizens.
Not a dry eye, river crossings run the cheek banks.
Room full of friends spilling into the hall,
better to see in, here. Before that, coffee
with a friend who turns 71. You might say
we’re getting older. The poet Jim Harrison,
who we gift each other, asks, Am I as old
as I am? All this wonder, sitting here,
in the car, late January, windows down,
sun coming through the windshield,
burgeoning change coming up from below,
I turn the visor down, recall Fox News
on the Flat Screen inside Immigration
building itself, talking about Republican
Debate this outfit hosted last night.
Guaranteed no path to citizenship
their calling card. Let’s say
someone picks up this notebook
50 years from now, some great, great, great, great cousin,
let’s say there’s still snow,
and people still ski, you won’t know
then, anything about Fox News
and their ilk. If you pursue the mystery,
it will just get darker. Now and here,
sun comes through a streaked windshield,
23 citizens from 13 countries
raise their right hands and say those
startling words, and just like that,
they belong. They’re Americans,
in this one breath.
Before I opened this notebook, I opened
my telephone and read a poem
a friend sent as I was driving to this school.
He wrote this line, And mine is not
a mind that needs full sun. His name is Wes.
As I was writing this line in the notebook,
a woman comes up to the passenger window
where I’m parked waiting for the school bell
and asks me, saying, Excuse me, Sir,
How do you like your Subaru Outback?
I look at her, wondering if she could see
what I am doing. She’s leaning against
the door, head inside my window, and she
wants to know about my car. I look at her,
smile, turn the ignition key, and read
the mileage, 151,813 miles, saying, too,
I think all God’s children should have Subaru’s.
She goes right back into it. She can’t wait
to get hers, and she wants me to talk about mine.
I could have changed the subject, asked her,
if by chance she saw the debate,
or the pen in my left hand on the notebook.
She wants to talk Outback, determined,
that Subaru vision fixed. It’s a lucky man
the man who knows the bell
is about to ring, but it’s luck tinged, too,
with a kind of sadness, even with the weather
and all turning to one’s favor
with the promise of snow.

Jim Bodeen
31 January 2016

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