Touch: The Journal of Healing



After the Diagnosis

    by Kenneth Salzmann

We have lived with

smoky snows lining city streets in endless winters.

The blackened banks grow higher sometime in the night.

New snow is dropped upon the old by plows I haven't seen

except as eerie strobe lights that leak through bedroom windows

in the same way moonlight might, touching what things

there are that belong to us and pulsing across your sleep.

We have lived with

the inconstancy of fearful friends who flutter into daylilies

at the exact moment that a stubborn vine is wanted,

as if to stand against the fresh whispers of new snow.

Soft footfalls traced in the powder of the first winter day

will grow black and harden when the killing season gathers ice

to line the winter days and winter nights that stretch ahead.

We have lived with

chills that can hold their own against any measure of warmth.

There are days when violent and unexpected shivers

can reach down into the deepest secrets sealed in the bones

that lace our insubstantial selves and render us both

horribly disfigured. For six months of every year,

the skies are waves of gray like smoky snows by city streets.

We will learn to live with this,

forgetting to mark gray winter days on the calendar

that still hangs in the kitchen collecting our obligations

in whatever blizzards or flurries might cross us now.

Clouded skies and winds echo in the graying glass

and steel of tall gray buildings lining empty city streets.

New snows are smoke and silver beneath the streetlights.

© 2015  Kenneth Salzmann

Kenneth Salzmann is a writer and poet who lives in Woodstock, NY, and Ajijic, Mexico. His poetry has appeared in Riverine: An Anthology of Hudson Valley Writers, Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude, Rattle, The New Verse News, Section 8, and elsewhere.

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Touch: The Journal of Healing

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