Chance of Snow

By Sarah E. Murphy

School night snowstorms 

were the highlight of those long, dark winters.

Dad was a misguided meteorologist 

with only the best intentions.

When he professed

“there’ll be no school tomorrow!” 

with cheerful certainty 

we could plan 

on the screech and halt 

of the bus flying down Grand Ave

so we learned early on to be hopeful

when he was doubtful.

I’d peer outside my window 

my nose freezing against the icy glass

staring at the sky for signs

listening for a message in the wind.

Ted would call his friend John,

the superintendent’s son

in an effort to obtain 

classified information.

In the early hours

after restless sleep 

I’d resume my post 

trying not to wake Courtney

to see a torrent of white 

falling under the streetlight 

by the O’Connors’ house 

and into the inky black ocean 

of the Heights.

We didn’t really know

there was magic 

in those moments 

when all was silent but for the hiss 

of snowflakes making contact. 

Later that morning

after the donning of many layers 

we sought satisfaction 

in leaving the first footprints 

at the ballpark

drifts crunching under our feet

as we staggered to meet the McEvoy girls 

barely recognizable 

in their parkas and moon boots. 

At day’s end 

mittens and snow pants 

would swim in puddles by the coal stove 

while we savored our Swiss Miss

celebrating simple joys. 

Sarah E. Murphy/Copyright 2010

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