Two New Poems

by Erin Knowles Chapman


The Men, Snow Blowing

After a heavy snow, around 6 or 7 am,

The men in my neighborhood push snow blowers along the sidewalks

Bordering their postage stamp lawns.

Newly fallen feet fill and frost from roof to street.

Solitary figures, these men in brown or green punctuate our block washed white.

Goose down conceals their pink, numb poker faces.

Layered in Elmer Fudd hats or Nanook of the North hoods,

They guide their winterized machines,

Arching fluffy geysers into the tree named street.


The quiet made by feet or inches shuts out the traffic.

Only the new snow, motors hushed of their clamor, the aching scrape of a shovel

Against cleared concrete.

The men do what needs doing, focused in that male way.

What needs to be done

Is attainable here, a way of earning more time

Alone. (Their home is really her home.)

Better to be up early and out-

Side in the Winter Warning, flip the switch, Rabbit Run.

Impossible to hear anyone. Later, he may tell

How much he cleared. His machine, he might say, how good it runs.


The Party Hat

NewYears(photo c/o 4StoriesUp at etsy.)

What reality did it meet

the New Year’s Eve party hat that tumbled into the street?

Was it the piece de resistance for a woman going out on the town?

Or did its glitter inform her gown?

Did it fall off when an umbrella bonked her blown out mane?

Did she want to go back for it, her hair ruined by rain?

Did she look stunning to the one who held her hand

The one who knew she had a half hour tops left in those heels?

Was she smiling as she hopped over the oil slicked puddle

Holding far more than she could pretend to juggle?

Did the abandonment of her party hat become the least of her blur?

Was she glad it was gone, the skin tender where the cheap plastic pushed?

Did she lament in that wet way to the one who knows her best

Slurring a string of vulgarities when she discovered her hat off?

Did he roll his eyes upon the time, eerily blue on his phone

Doing the math that boyfriends do, figuring out when he will next be alone?

Did she go on about it, forgetting that she once forgot

That New Year’s Eve party hat, the one with a witch’s hat on top?


Erin Knowles Chapman is a Detroit-area poet. Her previous feature for us is available here. She’s also appeared twice at our Open Michere and here.

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