Mais où sont les neiges d’antan?
by David Cope
what became of the girl whose dreams dressed up for
Madame Pomponelli’s neighborhood fashion show,
the sixth grader who skipped on sidewalks to French lessons
with Miss Meloche? where the girl whose father sang
“if ya can say it’s a bra brecht moonlicht nicht,
you’re all richt, ya can,” she whose mother slumped
to floor with paralytic stroke yet somehow endured,
the girl chosen from her dorm to speak to reporters
after Pearl Harbor, summoning words to guess the pain
that lay ahead? where the bright–eyed wife & mother
confident in construction site as her children climbed
dirt hills nearby? where the mother finding marvels
in screech owls screaming in the dark night, the woman
sobbing thru the wall, she whose fiction hid why he
didn’t come back, she pleading with a son who howled
& refused his father on monthly visit? where she who
worked beyond limits, drove thru snows men shrank from,
she who stood by children who had no other succor?
where those early years whose endurance was celebration,
before marriages, children, distance, tangled memory
would divide us in ways we couldn’t foresee? where she,
now reduced to labored breaths & sighs, long sleep?