KODAK Digital Still Camera

Published in Gargoyle 68, 2018.
Excerpt from “Not Better Late”

Snow resonates in me like a drum. At age three until about seven snow thrilled
me as its white sweeps and slopes gleaming in sunlight settled into Buckfield
through winter, brightening the somber days when the sky changed from
patchworks of white and blue to washes of gray. I’d grope into light flurries
swirling insubstantial indecisive snowflakes. Mornings I’d run downstairs hoping
for a coating of snow across the ground and the back porch so I could put on
my little boots and tramp around outside. After short days without a visible
sun I’d pause on my way upstairs to peer out the front parlor windows at the
snowfields that muted the road. Christmases changed me about snow. Christmas,
when families get together and dreams may come true, should be the day Papa
and Maman would arrive from Michigan. What word overheard, what childish
fantasy got that dream started? Letters hoping I was well and promising a
reunion– what a special day! It had to be at Christmas. As that most magical
day in my childhood pantheon approached, I’d puzzle over the weather map
in the newspaper and listen to news broadcasts for the latest on the weather.
I’d gobble down supper in haste to station myself in the parlor chair by the third
window with the best view of the direction Papa and Maman would arrive from,
and in the faint illumination of the lights on the Christmas tree in the far corner
I’d study oncoming headlights. Would they arrive by car or bus? Snow smothered
hope. Dismayed I’d watch a steady snowfall beginning to clump on grass and tree
limbs and dissolve on the wet tarmac, then fall in wet globs fattening deep drifts
across the highway, ending the passage of cars, sending shadows of doom across
my soul. Christmas snow spoke: impossible. Inside me a silent echo trembled…


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