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A look inside Below the Falls

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A sampling of poems from Below the Falls, by Gary Margolis.

The author reads "Snow Day"

Snow Day

I slide backwards
down a hill.
I could walk to work
if I had a week,
get used to staying home.
I don’t own a plow.
I have to love everything
in reverse—the field,
the heavy birch,
my wife waving to me
beside her car in the ditch.
I could stop for her,
if there wasn’t ice
beneath the snow.
I wave a promise I’ll drive
back, as I slide by.
I shouldn’t be thinking
about the stream below,
named Beaver Brook.
The brook is busy trickling
off the hill when the snow slips
into drive. I wouldn’t call
this snow a problem in Vermont.
The children pray for a day
off from school, to make up
at the end of the year.
A week of snow will have them
sitting at their desks next
summer, making up for what
was lost. It won’t cost me
anything. I can spend all day
with my wife who finds
her way back to our house.
We can shovel the whole field,
if we have another month saved
to stay at home.

State of My Nation Address

Neighbors and chickadees,
colleagues and compatriots,
citizens of the world, elves
and newts,

today I’m not standing before you.
No one has required me to give
my accounting of the past year.

I’m one of the unelected
sitting by a window filled
with the bounty
of grief.

I have no more to say
about the economy
than the sauce on my lips
from yesterday.

And nothing new to add
to our progress in the war,
though few of us can remember
when it began.

Allow me to start over,
to pledge my allegiance to the flag
not sewn yet,
none of us will feel
compelled to stand for.

Before I forget, I want to thank
my wife and my lover,
the bluebird, who is queen
of distractions.

Before I forget, I want to salute
veterans of foreign wars.

Nothing is foreign to me anymore
and I wish I could shake
each of your hands.

My assistant, the field, tells me
you’re no less than these blades
of grass, leaves who served
our country.

This is the place I am
expected to make promises.

I promise to weep with you.
I promise to stand in line.
To share my recipe
for a thin sauce of paper
and limes, appealing
to both sides of an aisle.

Did I forget to mention God?
I hope not. I hope some god
is being invented instead of another
government.

I’ve instructed my aide-de-camp
to lay in waiting for a little spirit,
esprite-de- corps.

To let me know I’ve remembered
to say everything I need to
about the hope of the wind,
a red flag inside the parking meter
signaling time has
expired.

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