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.

  • Marie Ponsot, “Winter” from The Bird Catcher. Copyright © 1998 by Marie Ponsot. Reprinted with the permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.

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

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