Patric Pepper



Here's a little blow to sober you up    I do this for you    out of universal compassion     but nonetheless for you     So here we go        I come to you like an angel       in the form you dig the most     in the form of     snow   


I breathe over the planet     with a bit of weather     20 inches in 20 hours     and as I breeze by you and your poems rhapsodizing in the kitchen over a pot of tea     I give your house a little bop on the nose     as if to holler Haiti!     Indonesia!     New Orleans!   



            hear the roof beam     crack!     then a smaller    pop! then the big one     CRACK!     and watch a great maw in your ceiling open wide as if to swallow         "Me"

you inwardly shriek     

                                              You call the fire department  who arrives for your emergency     in their coats smelling of smoke and boots leaving the snow all over the Bukhara rug and their classical helmets with little drifts of snow on the brims dripping onto their shoulders


                                      The firemen     who check it out

in a hurry     to get to the next act of compassion     who tell you           You have to get out of your house


                 In a blizzard     ?     you wonder aloud


                                 The roof could go at any moment

the Captain states          You can't stay in the house   and we have to leave      and we can't leave until you leave      the house


The house you are fond of calling the symbol of your soul


You pack up a change of underwear    you stuff a partially eaten ham sandwich into your cardigan pocket     you help your wife     as she helps you     to the sidewalk


                                                          where the snow still rushes down     where you both watch the fire truck get stuck in the 20 inches of snow     then dig itself out miraculously to wheel off throwing snow wildly up under its fenders     with you and your wife     chilling     there in the drifts before


                      your soul with its broken nose


although soon you head over to Mabel's house     which you have heard that they have heard   

their roof     crack!

just once     but it didn't come down


                           And I     in the form of storm     keep moving on     to the next act of universal compassion compassion this time     though next time I may swallow you whole

                                                              And I never     and I didn't      and I wouldn't     and I couldn't      put a thought in your head that the God who answers your prayer is


                                                         Mabel, who took you in out of the storm, and Nate and Jasmine and Jason who drove you around in Jas's SUV, and Jane and James who fed you and put you up, and Jean and Bob who opened their house to you, and Heddy who most importantly pointed out how things might go either way, and Rosario and Eber who shoveled and drove you home, and Stanislas the contractor and Mr. Whitescarver the building inspector, and so on and so on and so on for all the sixty years of your lucky life


And I      in the form of weather     pass over the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays     as you call them     out over the Atlantic Ocean   as you call it    and      "I"    in a swirl of radar images

                                                    I disappear

Patric Pepper lives in Washington, D.C. He published a chapbook in 2000, Zoned Industrial, which has been published in an expanded second edition by Banty in 2010, and a full length collection in 2005, Temporary Apprehensions, which was a 2004 winner of the Washington Writers' Publishing House Poetry Prize. His work has most recently appeared, or is forthcoming, in Poems Against War, Asbestos, The Innisfree Poetry Journal, and Confrontation Magazine. He is co-editor and publisher with his wife Mary Ann Larkin of Pond Road Press, which in 2006 published Tough Heaven: Poems of Pittsburgh, by Jack Gilbert. He currently serves as President and Managing Editor of Washington Writers' Publishing House.



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