national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2011

Travelers

Melissa Goodrich  • 
Susquehanna University

after Walter Martin & Paloma Muñoz

 

 

There is a story in which snow

is pushed cliff to cliff

 

with a brownbrush broom, a tree

like an ache in glass, a space

 

to put oneself out like an ashtray, how sand

and snow both blow. Say hello,

 

pluck your head off and replace it

like a lampshade over a bulb. Be still

 

in stillness, in white in a white

jacket, the sky pinned closed

 

with clouds. They take their bad children

to the well and then pause in the snow

 

with girls, hang their clothes

from trees and brood

 

into them, when the children shiver wet

and silver in the pit and birds

 

never come but there is a nudge

of black beyond the glass, a soft

 

clicking. The children sink in

and it does not matter how naked

 

they are. In their hands

the snow stays snow. Or,

 

you are already almost dead, caught

with your white towel

 

and no wife, just snow

to fall into after the gunshot, and just snow,

 

the anonymity of it. Their heads stuck

in tree knots, three young boys bind.

 

What they saw in that brief

hooding, unhooding. Or

 

your house tips over or a wolf

comes out of the woods

 

for something to eat. Sometimes you die

as your horse descends

 

the mountains and sometimes you are

naked in the electric snow. The overflowing

 

suitcase of it.