Thursday, January 22, 2009

Difficult Snow

I am walking in difficult snow,
my boots gnawing the white

ground, and everything I know
is here. The alders, shivering,

are here, and the memory of devil's
club stinging last summer

is here. I am alone,
but Joseph Stalin is talking to me.

He is saying, "Why sad?"
and I tell him: I am

trying to write a good poem
about terrible things,

and I can't seem to find
a place in the language.

And Joseph Stalin laughs,
wraps the wool-clad arm around

my shoulder, and says,
"Ahhh, David, why make things

so difficult. All I have to do is speak,
and twenty thousand people

become my imagination,
and I don't see them any more."

The alders shiver;
the trail disappears.

I am walking in difficult snow
and I am alone,

but everything I know is here.


  1. This is a standout poem David. I know this because it has stood out to me for a long time--ever since I read it in a poetry workshop class with you 15 or so years ago. Still have my original copy.

    Isaac Martin

  2. Thanks, Isaac! What a honor. Means a lot to me because your writing is wonderful.

  3. Great to see your writing here. Brings back good memories. If I ever make it to Palmer (I live near Ketchikan now), I'll be sure to stop in your shop and say Hi.