Joseph Wood


I & WE

The buses weren't running that night.
The planes had been grounded by the snow.
Even the taxi cabs slept inside the frigid wombs

of their garages. I had these two legs
but my quadriceps were on the verge of buckling
from the knee-deep drifts. All that remained

was the 24/7 coffee shop where various vagrants
& after-party Navy men took pensive sips of Sanka
as if drinking their own hearts. I walked through

the door whereupon bells jangled, as if
I were so important my presence had to be
announced. Yet, I leaned against

the cash register larger than a coffin,
& watched one woman, a knit cap on her head
whose yarn was unraveling like centuries,

recite passages from the bible in the tones
of someone hanging on the cross
of what she forgot or what would never arrive,

& it bored her. I stood for a long time,
so long in fact my stillness seemed a motion
& the snow outside the static, & this flock

of saints, my newly ordained family,
were cantankerous quarks about to implode.