Going Places with You: A Poem for Kate

Your head swiveled towards the window and you shouted


Like it was the first time that the world

That unfolds from your two eyes

Was filtered by floating flakes

In November’s early morning sunlight


Like you hadn’t grown up wrapped in New England’s icy grip

Like you haven’t spent all of your days

In places colder than any freezer

I ever opened

To quench the California sun of my youth


I was a grown adult the first time that I ever saw snow.

But this was the first time you had ever seen snow in Burlington with me.

It was November

And we weren’t yet expecting snow.


It isn’t only children

That are amazed at what becomes visible

When we arrive, shivering

At the doorstep of colder weather

Sometimes we can’t help but shout about all that’s falling down

I think the noise helps us actually believe it.


As powder drifted past our rented kitchen windowpanes

You slipped outside to the covered deck

To examine what you had seen a million times before

Winter’s chilled breath exhaled into the kitchen

And wrapped around my ankles

As the door clicked shut.


I gripped the brown and tan 1950s General Electric iron

And pressed the button-down you picked out for me

Rising steam

And evaporating wrinkles

Fogged up my glasses

And I couldn’t hear what you were yelling back to me

But every word

From your weekend-getaway lungs

Was white-cloud visible against the slate November sky

Like my steam was white-cloud visible

Against the portrait of your black jacket


I find myself clinging to these moments

The way wood railing

Clings to winter’s welcome

And allows her white dust

To powder its face

Sometimes the cold makes pretty

All that wasn’t before


It isn’t often we can see

The things that keep us warm at night

Like breath

And steam

Amidst the things that make us cold

Like snow.


But when you put your hand on my leg in the back of an Uber

Or hold mine outside

Because it’s November

And it’s snowing

And my hands are cold

I know that I’m slowly learning

I don’t need to work so hard

To make visible all of the miles I traveled before you

And all of the miles I have to go

Because the truth is neither one of our odometers

Can ever be reset

We will always be able to see our miles


So I promise I will never try to figure out

Exactly how far I think we have left

But only how far I think we’ve come

And I will always do my best to shout

About the indisputable beauty

Of what most people just call falling.




Photo courtesy of dimthoughts, Flickr Creative Commons.


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