March 25th. Driving at night
Through western Nebraska we are suspended
In the cushioned quiet of a wet spring snow—
Nickel-sized flakes plummeting deliberately.
No wizard of enchantment or Caesar or king
Or khan could have commanded such a pure spectacle.
The inky sky is a heaven and in no hurry.
We park and start to walk through a little town
Whose name we read on the post-office lintel.
It’s late and still and the windows are mostly dark.
The innocence of sleep is palpable
And you say that small towns are like elegies,
That they bring up the sharpest feelings of frailty.
We walk past snowy cottonwood trees
And street signs and pickup trucks. The snow will vanish
By late morning and so will we. We stop in the middle
Of a sidewalk and stick our tongues out and taste
The cold sky, the houses, the low calm breathing
Of children and men and women, the teeming
Wordless drift that subdues everything.