GRATITUDE ODE: SNOWPLOW
Kind yellow bull pacing
the borders of the neighborhood,
trampling the edges where city light
meets blue-black frozen fields. Push,
shove: same simple philosophy
of razor on face, groom and smooth.
Tireless whittler, while we sleep
you cut back into being
the grids our forebears dreamed
so in the morning we can glide
along our cold inheritance.
On the interstate, in your gray wake,
you scatter salt like a flower girl
flinging fistfuls of petals on a carpet
at a bride’s feet. Tang of steel and ice,
grit of sand and long work. In your belly:
a human mind, an illuminated map,
hands clutching a canister
of caffeine that for half a night
stays hot as a brain. While I sip gin
above a warm wood floor,
you flash your green and orange lights,
you carry night on your shoulders,
my good friend, my wild-eyed beauty,
path smasher. Across the places
you made for me, your constellations
of salt, I head toward Orion’s belt,
clear road forward I did nothing to deserve.
Jeffrey Bean has had poems appear in Southern Review, Missouri Review, Antioch Review, River Styx, Laurel Review, and Willow Springs, among others, and online at Poets.org and Verse Daily. He is the author of two chapbooks and the poetry collections Diminished Fifth (2009) and Woman Putting on Pearls (2017), which won the 2016 Red Mountain Poetry Prize and was published by Red Mountain Press. Bean is a professor of English at Central Michigan University.