Death of a Stranger

— Diane Moomey

One afternoon in winter, I heard
that you had died.
I did not know you, except for brief nods
at the post office, the grocery.

There was snow, I recall—brief and wet,
seen crookedly through farmhouse glass slumped
with age—and a pale yellow band that divided
two grays from each other, in the west.
I thought the sun might be somewhere
behind the yellow although
there was nothing to prove it.

I remember snow
and that a car drove south along the farm road,
a red car, slushed to the hubcaps,
and that wind blew as it always does
straight down from the Saint Lawrence River:
a feral wind that pushes aside the feathers of down jackets
seeking the bone.
Old thistles, milkweed, barley grass and other
summer leftovers lay flat before it.

I remember that sugaring had begun,
and that the pond was smooth and white
with empty ice beneath.

I did not know you.

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