This day is like a painting
hung

a little too far to the right
or to the left. Step back.

Squint your eyes. Tilt your head
Something needs realignment.

It bothers you that other days
seem so perfectly centered.

It’s not the weather. You feel
it when you’re at the supermarket

staring
at the avocado,

wondering what you actually think about it.
A deep lunge to see around yourself.

A subtle wobble of a scale.
It’s like the word snow.

Not the fluffy frozen stuff,
more like

that time your sister had a seizure
still strapped in her skis

and you got to ride a snowmobile
down the mountain,

or pointing out a car, screaming SNOW!
or resting your head gently on your knee

sighing, snow.
Words gather like snow.

You think about it for a long time.
you don’t think about it at all.

You’ve already secretly called
and canceled:

I’m tired. You go have fun without me.
That shelf behind yourself is cozy.

Outside, the day is going on.
People are having conversations

with other people,
across the street.


Special mention, 2011 Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, judged by Claudia Emerson.