Diane Lockward: "How Heavy the Snow"




It weighs down the burning bushes that burn

no more, loads the porch railings with more

than they can bear. Even the tiny holes

of window screens fill with the color of absence.


It billows and blows like sheets on a line,

builds a shroud around the house,

covers the ground with a blanket of white

unmarked by footprints.


As if by conjury, wild turkeys appear,

at least two dozen in single file. Almost terrifying

the way they spread across the yard,

an army invading from a foreign land. Strange,


ugly birds, their long, arrogant necks black

and greasy, bellies distended. Out of season,

hungry and desperate, they swivel their heads

like periscopes and peck the seedless snow.


Only their footsteps remain,

each no bigger than a child’s, evidence

only that once they were here

and then disappeared.



Diane Lockward is the author of three poetry books, most recently, Temptation by Water (Wind Publications, 2010). Her poems have been included in such anthologies as Poetry Daily: 360 Poems from the World's Most Popular Poetry Website and Garrison Keillor's Good Poems for Hard Times and in such journals as Harvard Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her work has also been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and The Writer’s Almanac.