When I Am Seventy-Plus

70plus

It took a year-plus to relieve the trauma we recall

From last winter that pounded us with seventy-plus

Inches of snow. It took an unseasonably mild winter

 

To counter the instant dismay caused by a sky greying

Over like ice over broken tar. We paused, tensed,

Refused to panic. We checked our shovels. We relaxed

 

When we realized that the 36-inch forecast meant

An inch or two, though wet. We still shudder to think

Of the wall of snow on every sidewalk, the wall that made

 

Parking almost impossible. We still shudder to think

How cold we were. We still shiver. Last July, I heard a man

Talk about how he still couldn’t believe the snow had melted.

 

Last July, the last of the snow finally melted. Last July,

When the summer was mild and I was not melting

In the 70-plus-plus but not yet 90-degree heat,

 

I shivered, but not as much as I am shivering this winter,

This mild, mild winter, when Christmas is 70 degrees

And it’s snowing at Easter, and no one really knows

 

How to forecast the future, how to predict weather:

I shiver in fear that the extra 20 or 30 degrees added

To our winter will also be added not just to this summer

 

But to all the summers to come, both those now

When I squander my forties and those later when I, 70-plus,

Look around at the 120 degree heat, and learn despair.