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 brighteyed 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?