A late snow fell not long after green shoots of early grasses
loosed the grip of a hard and dirty winter. I caught up my camera
and walked to Centennial Park, where a copy of the Parthenon
stood with many columned legs upon a field and
waited for Athena to arrive on the West End bus.
I stepped off the graveled path to cut through
a sculptured forest that bordered a shallow pool.
A drifting smog of onion breath from the Crystal Burger
lingered in my lungs. I stopped to breathe deeply
of sun spiced bark and dampened lichen.
Distant traffic tumbled like water over rocks.
Under the supple branches of a wax myrtle,
half in the shadow where snow still clung and
half flung across a sunny patch of greening earth,
a ballroom gown lay full displayed upon the ground.
The myrtle’s roots, like veins under thin skin, led my eyes
to the water’s edge where a woman floated, drowned,
unrequited from some intent I could not know,
and now face down in the ice skimmed pond,
light brown against the fallen snow.
I could not help her, so I took her picture.
Now, thirty years later, I hold in my hand
this three by five memory, listen to
traffic scumbling distant bricks,
and feel the frost forming.