January 13, 1982
The girl putters about
studying the blanketed landscape
of sidewalks, trees, shrubbery, houses, power lines.
The remnants of ambition: a 1950’s storybook snowman
are abandoned, unrecognizable,
the figure quarter-finished.
Subsequent snow angels are strewn about
on slates, left unpunctured
twigs and footsteps.
Perhaps she’ll amble half a block down
to the flat white expanse of the schoolyard
where a mass production could take place.
Cold starts to burn
red on her cheeks.
Wet iciness seeps
into her cheap boots and jacket
but aren’t waterproof.
The grayness is shading darker.
The promise of outside projects fade
to dreary malaise and tedium.
There is busy work homework to do.
Her neighbor waddles over
and breaks the silence:
An Air Florida crash.
The plane slid off
the 14th Street Bridge,
right into the river.
But, some survived right?
Couldn’t they just swim
to the bridge?
The water was freezing.
A man jumped in
to save people.
A stewardess survived.
Couldn’t the plane have landed on the bridge?
What about those seat cushions that turn into “flotation devices,” or the slide that comes down from the rows of seats with the red-lettered EXIT sign? Didn’t they just slide off and swim to shore?
Guilt for the indulgence
of boredom creeps in.
Snowman and angels fade away.
She turns around and heads inside,
unable to get the image out of her head
of people drowning, trapped in a sky
bus banging on the windows,
converted to stone.