End of the Chapter at Night

John Gosslee

I.   The street is swallowed in the snow.
     Footprints in the six-inch powder at the dock's edge
     under the Franklin Bridge fill with new flakes,
     my breath forks into the wind
     like a pink eared rabbit leaping from a burrow.

     The river emerges from the dust
     like a celebration after the votes are counted,
     but it’s just a note on the refrigerator
     no one reads before opening the door.

     The dead gull’s separated feathers,
     inescapable as a wing lifting an empty stomach,
     were never used, until it’s fat was like a spit
     of snow kicked into the river. 


II.  The celebrity of first love is a night boat
     with Chinese lanterns and a glass bottom.
     The snow huddles in the window corners
     like rocks stacked along the river bank
     and the further I wade out of the water,
     the muddier my feet get.

     The umbrella is shared and the snow won’t quit,
     warm pipes under the sidewalk sing
     of how the sun sends puddles back to the sky
     and the gutter is slick with ice.

     Long light strips along the theater aisles,
     direct the science of man and woman
     into a crowded row, where the bated mouse
     enters the maze to eat and treads water
     to exhaustion in the sequel.


III. The dream of the white horse is standing
     in the heated stall while it pulls a couple
     through the snowy park, they consider its musk
     after the driver makes change
     and its nostrils flare in the freeze.

     The windshield scraped with a credit card
     after dinner, the cold black leather interior
     and the engine swell, the head rests lift them
     along the gray highway, hands linked 
     over the stick-shift above the roar.

      Phrase of Day Light

IV. After twenty jumping jacks in Blackwater Park
     sweat curdles under my nose, it is dust to dust
     for the leashed dog at its owners heal,
     but water to water for me.

     I am ice in the water fountain,
     the wet ring under the steel drain’s lip,
     the trench around my green drab t-shirt-neck
     and the lake in my cupped hands is one strong beat
     against my face.

     Chapter at the Swimming Pool

V.  The breast stroke of the broad chested swimmer
     in the lap pool is like a hiccup. 
     I rise from the lane when the lap timer beeps,
     wipe my eyes and shake my wide hands dry.
     My shorts slosh onto the shower tile
     and my long wet hair is a jelly fish in the light.

     The sauna boulders steam
     like a wide open mouth in winter.
     Humidity is what coaxes the light
     to tell its joy through the rainbow
     and my water bottle under the blue tiled dome
     vets and changes shape.