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  4. Snow by Maureen Seaton

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White people leave the express
at 96th Street, collectively,
like pigeons from a live wire
or hope from the hearts of Harlem.
And I’m one of them, although
my lover sleeps two stops north between
Malcolm X and Adam Clayton Powell
Boulevards, wishing my ass
were cupped inside her knees and belly,
wishing this in a dream thick
with inequalities.
I live on Riverside Drive. My face
helped get me here. I was
ruddy with anticipation the day
I interviewed for the rooms
near the park with its
snow-covered maples. I was full
of undisguised hope as I
strolled along the river, believing
I belonged there, that my people
inherited this wonderland
unequivocally, as if they deserved it.
My lover buys twinkies from the Arabs,
bootleg tapes on ‘25th,
and carries a blade in her back
pocket although her hands
are the gentlest I’ve known.
She ignores the piss smells
on the corner, the sirens
at 4 A.M., the men whose brains
have dissolved in rum. And tries
to trust a white woman who
sleeps near the trees of Riverside.
When we go out together,
we avoid expensive
cafés on Columbus Avenue, jaunts
to the Upper East Side. Harlem
eyes us suspiciously or with
contempt beneath half-closed lids.
We have friends there,
hidden in the ruins like gold, who
accept us. When it snows,
we walk boldly anywhere, as if the snow
were a protection, or a death.

Maureen Seaton, "Snow" from Fear of Subways. Copyright © 1991 by Maureen Seaton.  Reprinted by permission of The Eighth Mountain Press.
Source: Fear of Subways (The Eighth Mountain Press, 1991)

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  • Poet Maureen Seaton earned an MFA from Vermont College in 1996. She is the author of the poetry collections Fear of Subways (1991), winner of the Eighth Mountain Poetry Prize; The Sea Among the Cupboards (1992); Furious Cooking (1996), winner of both the Iowa Poetry Prize and a Lambda Literary Award; Little Ice Age (2001); Venus Examines Her Breast (2004), winner of the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award; and Cave of the Yellow Volkswagen (2009).Using collage techniques to create delight and dissonance, Seaton’s poetry has been described as unusual, compressed, and surrealistic. Seaton has explored the possibilities of collaboration throughout her career, writing poetry with Denise Duhamel in such collections as Exquisite Politics (1997), Oyl (2000), and Little Novels (2002). She also collaborated with Samuel Ace on Stealth (2011) and with Neil de la Flor on Sinead O’Connor and Her Coat of a Thousand Bluebirds (2011). Seaton, Duhamel, and David...

  • Poems By Maureen Seaton

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