Snowmen for Paul

Writing about Glenna and Paul reminded me of this poem I wrote about Paul several years ago. I’ve tried a few times to write a poem about Glenna, but it never seems to come out right.



Snowmen for Paul

That year, as winter refused to retreat,
we made Valentine cupcakes
frosted white with cinnamon hearts
and sent them to the hospital.

We built snowmen by the roadside
to welcome him home,
but when Mother came from the surgery
it was not to say when he would be back.

I remember her eyes unnaturally bright
just before her face crumpled
into a sadness I’d never seen
as she told us he didn’t make it.

No more checker games, easy smiles,
stories deliciously unsuitable for children,
yowling make-believe monsters
chasing through the magic nights.

He’d survived the Depression,
served in the Great War,
sent his wife a love letter
every day he was gone.

All those memories
suddenly closed to us,
a lost book we had thought
we would always be able to read.

She brought the cupcakes home
and kept them wrapped in plastic
until the frosting cracked
and the hearts melted.


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