I don’t know what to say to you, neighbor,
as you shovel snow from your part of our street   
neat in your Greek black. I’ve waited for   
chance to find words; now, by chance, we meet.

We took our boys to the same kindergarten,   
thirteen years ago when our husbands went.
Both boys hated school, dropped out feral, dropped in   
to separate troubles. You shift snow fast, back bent,   
but your boy killed himself, six days dead.

My boy washed your wall when the police were done.   
He says, “We weren’t friends?” and shakes his head,   
“I told him it was great he had that gun,”
and shakes. I shake, close to you, close to you.   
You have a path to clear, and so you do.

  •  “Winter” from The Bird Catcher by Marie Ponsot, 1998 by Marie Ponsot.  Used by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. Any third party use of this material, outside of this publication, is prohibited. Interested parties must apply directly to Penguin Random House LLC for permission. 

  • Source: The Bird Catcher (Alfred A. Knopf, 1998)

Poet Bio

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"Poetry Out Loud has taught me not to give up after one mistake. Or two mistakes. Or a few mistakes. It has taught me not to sell myself short, but also to love every unique perspective I come across. People, like poetry, cannot be read once and immediately
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Addi Garner
2017 WA POL Champion