Thursday, December 30, 2010

Forget Me Not

Heavy snow from a furious pregnant sky falls over the big city for two days and two nights. The wind throws a thick white blanket over everything from vain wide-open avenues, proud ethnic neighborhoods, and mean poor streets with ratty alleys to deserted park benches.

On the third day, everything suddenly changes; an icy Canadian wind blows away the soft purple clouds. The desperate January sun, hardly reaching the rooftops of the gleaming high rises, makes people squint.

On the widest avenue, in the heart of the city, the new biting and tugging wind scares away women wearing animal pelts and high heels, and stern-looking men in their wingtips and perfectly fitting dark blue coats. They are all soon whisked away by warm yellow taxicabs and luxurious black limousines.

Later, immigrant cleaning ladies in their colorful heavy scarves and shivering shop clerks in black uniforms disappear into steaming and coughing city busses. They leave the bus stops, desolate in the fading evening light.

Only the homeless and insane, with empty hands in the pockets of their second-hand coats, walk aimlessly, bending their exhausted bodies toward the killing winds.

In Uptown a quiet man with forget-me-not-blue eyes can't find shelter for the night. With the last coins in his pocket, he buys a cup of coffee in an empty shop next to the subway station. The hot liquid warms him for a while and gives him strength to walk north until he finds a spot in the park. A piece of cardboard gives him a bed to rest his head and aching body.

A sudden heat wave rinses over him while stars above him seem to come closer. He is surprised by this unexpected change in weather. He takes off his wet socks and sandals and continues to look at the starry sky above him and the big city. Maybe life will get better, he thinks. Then he sighs and falls asleep for the last time.

Heavy snow falls over the big city
from a wide-open pregnant, purple sky,
soon covering the vain avenues,
mean streets,
ratty allies
and deserted park benches,

Next day the wind shifts
and the sun,
hardly above roofs of high rises,
blinds tired eyes.
Icy tugging wind scares away animal pelt wearing women
and stern-looking men in their wingtips,
all whisked away by yellow taxi cabs.

Finally also immigrant cleaning ladies
and shivering shop clerks
disappear into steaming city busses.
Only the homeless and insane,
with their empty hands,
walk aimlessly towards the killing winds.

That night a quiet man
with forget-me-not-blue eyes,
wearing wet socks and sandals,
lays his head down on a piece of cardboard
in Uptown’s virgin snow.

When a wave of heat rolls over him,
like a sudden change in weather,
he takes off his heavy coat and sandals
before he falls asleep
for the last time.

- Marja Hagborg

No comments:

Post a Comment