Issue > Poetry
Kendra Kopelke

Kendra Kopelke

Kendra Kopelke is the author of four books of poems, including Hopper's Women, a series of poems in the voices of the women in Edward Hopper’s paintings. She is co-editor of Passager, a journal and press that features the work of older writers, and she directs the MFA in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts at the University of Baltimore.  

Blizzard 2016

What they predicted
and they were right too
about the wind,
thrilling how right
they were, for all their canned
hysteria beforehand,
in the late afternoon
the air grew heavy
and strange, distant
and basementy close,
and then a tickle,
and a few flakes fell,
it was nothing,
and then some more,
and gradually the sky lost
and then the gusting
ghostly sheets flared up,
whipped past our windows
turning sideways, inside out
then diagonal threads of snow
stitching the sky
to the earth,
spasms of icy torrents
through the evening,
and deep into the night,
so fine you couldn't see it
but for the porthole of silver sparks
shining in the streetlight,
and while we slept
the windows cried out
a howling wild fire
spreading through
night's endless rooms—

In the morning when we woke
and looked outside
we were somewhere else
floating on a china-white sea
shapeless but shifting
and it was in the tv too
snow-drenched meteorologists
in bright jackets and goggles
stood on deserted street corners
Live from Hampden
Live from Fells Point
Annapolis, Perry Hall
they poked their
simple wooden yardsticks
in freshly-powdered ground
while the camera zoomed in
on the winning number
29 ½ in Reisterstown—

We went back and forth
between the flat screen and the
living room window,
enthralled with everything
the giddy young reporters
the snow rearing up
and spiraling out of control
around their little spot,

and by noon the dog asleep
on the chair couldn't
hold it any longer, she barked
a little cosmic shriek
and surprised herself—
We went out front
and she tried
but couldn't
turned and tried again
I had an idea
to run her back and forth
on the narrow path I'd dug
hoping to shake her loose,
everything felt new
and made up—
no easy way from there
to here
or anywhere to anywhere

and then afternoon drifted in
it was soup, boiled eggs, reading,
as things disappeared,
the garden, the birdbath,
the naked oversized rosebush,
sticking up and out like startled bones
the cars on the street
drowned beneath
undulating white waves,
moving and unmoved,
while the kitchen window
grew its own white lace,
the black iron porch railing
grew a satiny gown
and now it had reached the front door
and was creeping up the door jam
wind-hurried, adept
ready to be let it in

while inside it was calm,
a muffled, unceasing calm
played against the rhythm
of the wind,
the rhythm of the snow,
until the last of the storm
ushered in a dazed gray evening,
the night lurching
dutifully behind,
coming on the backside
of this blizzard,
this 24-hour spectacle
of cold and wind
in our city
in our yards
the houses thinking
what's everybody doing home,
and the cars, where are the cars, the streets
and the ground, was it
erased or was it overruled,
the houses sag under
the new weight,
rub their eyes
awake to the weight
of the change.


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