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First Snowfall

by Wesley McNair

It is touching
the highest fingers
of the trees
which have longed

for it all this time,
and it is sifting down
over the store with the sign
in the window

that says Come in
we’re open and the sign
on the door that says
We’re closed,

and it is blowing
across the gray stacks
of lumber and the jacked-
up trailer of a semi

at Dan’s Custom
Sawing, and on the Rome
Road it is coming down
on the shoulders

of telephone poles
struggling uphill carrying wire
to the double-wide
and the farmhouse

with the year-round Christmas
lights, in season once more,
and slowly, softly in the dark
it is once more

bearing down
on the old, collapsing barn
to squeeze the row
of windows

shut, nobody up
to see it fill the driveways
and walkways except
a snowplow

holding a small light
ahead of itself opening the street
that vanishes in the long
drift and dream

of it, coming down
over the whole town
where everyone
under every

last, lost
roof is now far away
and all gone
and good night.


“First Snowfall” will appear in Wesley McNair’s forthcoming volume, Lovers of the Lost: New and Selected Poems (David R. Godine, 2009). He was recently selected for a United States Artist Fellowship as one of America’s “finest living artists.” (12/2008)

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