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January 30th, Calendar Square

Snow is falling hard on Calendar Square.
It’s nearly February; phoebes sing
At embarrassing distances among
The whitened trees of dusk, reminding March
It’s got its work to do. The buildings cast
Dull blue shadows across white yawning spaces.
Now that winter’s had its way with time, time
Deletes the solace of annus novus,
While evidence lingers, central conceits
Of presence ravel out the absences
That wrinkle parking lots and alleyways
With tire tracks; that spill the rock salt that’s mixed
In bitter mercy with birdfeed on a stoop;
That winnow storefront windows down and out
To their basics; that make the needful things
Become madly dependent on luxuries
To help restore their meaning. People move
Among their footprints, shadows among shades,
With hungry looks, grinning cold misereres
And scouring the ground before them for some
Reconstructed comfort. No other face
Or posture touches on what’s wanted most –
What’s least at hand. The entire city sounds
An anthology of reveries, morose
In muffled cadence, bruised as ruptured bassoons,
A rich quavering sadness wildly refrained
From deep beneath the river’s strain and flow:
It groans with ice and curves its banks around
The city, lover held by elbow’s crook –
Its daily traffic is measured and cramps
Each fitful instance. After twilight pulled
The stray ribbons and stays of sunlight loose,
The evening’s flowing locks tumbled free
With snow. (The weather’s been asking for it
For days.) Each flake an inculcation of
The equinox, the storm compiles in facts
And whispered dividends; its quiet smoothes
Sepulchral parks into ashen fields; it haunts
The solstice, dreaming phoebes into spring.