January Towns

Our bodies are winter clay and we travel
in not-quite-evening—the hour of about-
to-turn, of mistaking a man who owns

the same coat for you. Are you wearing
a red hat? Are someone’s arms open
beneath you, her blue apron, her hands

in the air that say jump? And the snow
always falling here, always getting swept up.
What number night voyager are you?

There are others: a small girl straddling
a hefty branch, a boy that gazes
at a white-caked statue for luck,

a couple in gray shackled at the ankle—
he eats an apple or speaks into his
cupped hand as if he’s on an invisible

CB radio. Breaker 1-9. Breaker 1-9.
He tries to pinpoint his location,
but even the pine trees are jet white.

There is a car skidded off the road
with luggage strapped to the roof.
Further back, a pot, a lost shoe,

a hunk of unwrapped Christmas gifts.
We are travelers at dusk in the hallelujah
snow. There is a lone dog humping forward,

a woman with her back to a tree. Maybe
she is me. A couple pushes a house on wheels
through a blizzard. The house tilts

and perhaps it is metaphorical. Perhaps
it is literal. Men in coveralls excavate a well
and a girl rides the train of her own red dress

back up out of its tunnel. Sometimes the light
above the clouds winks out a full-size replica
of our lives. We are crystals of frozen water;

we are hoarfrost situated in the heart of
convenience-store neon, smudged to jeweled
precautions through condensed glass. Home
is the coldest surface where we park our house.

Copyright the author(s) ©2007–2014