First Snow

If I met your eyes across the table,
one passing of a salt shaker
would have made our blood run forever warmer.

Walking through Prospect Park,
I wouldn’t wait until the last bench to kiss you.

We would rent a place on the corner of 1st and 1st,
befriend the working poets
who would improvise surrealist ballads
at seeing us stuck on a median, crossing Houston.

We would make impulsive decisions when buying lemons,
make spreadsheets if planning travels,
raise a few children savvy in French baked goods,
or maybe remain alone, just the two of us.

And even if we fell out,
started separate families,
we’d always be at arm’s reach,
even across the globe,
even if we went decades without talking.

But here I am, sitting under an oak
in a cemetery in Ridgewood, New Jersey,
while somewhere in Malaysia, or Norway,
two of your ancestors are sharing a Coke.

Rushing out to Whole Foods last night,
I saw your shape on the hood of my pickup truck,
traced in rock-hard snow.

Over my head, the Almighty must have been grinning.

When you look up at the same Almighty,
you won’t notice the change in the radius of the Sun.

Like me, you’ll wish to know the nature of consciousness,
drink coffee to fall asleep faster.

And maybe one day you’ll pick up a metal detector,
hover it over a beach
where I’ve dropped some good-luck medallion,
dig it up,
and wonder what it is.

This is a reprint of work originally published in Neptune Court.

Originally from Moscow, Russia, Anton Yakovlev lives in Ridgewood, New Jersey, and works as a college textbook editor. He studied filmmaking and poetry at Harvard University. His work is published or forthcoming in The New Yorker, Fulcrum, American Arts Quarterly, Measure, The Raintown Review, The New Verse News and elsewhere. He is the author of chapbooks Neptune Court (The Operating System, 2015) and The Ghost of Grant Wood (Finishing Line Press, 2015). He has also directed several short films.

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