LATE 2009

These men are all smiles. They fashion thrift-store hats
on their bald heads and long scarves around their necks,

the ends hanging past where their knees would be
if they weren’t snowmen holding hands.

My father fixes this new calendar to the side of our refrigerator
no one ever sees. He leaves it crooked, still in its plastic,

next to an old grocery list as though he
wants to ignore the fact it’s been a whole year.

Twelve months of broken promises and he, too,
still refuses to recognize me. Instead, he critiques

the last few photographs for their aesthetic value:
October’s fallen shades are far too disappointing

because he prefers to see more red,
as is November’s close-up of voters celebrating

in the sun, the CHANGE We Can Believe In,
yet he thinks it’s more exciting than December,

which captures the neighborhood kids
playing in the park, near a makeshift igloo,

next to the two smiling snowmen holding hands:
these pictures had the power to move the country.

My father warns that the sun will never let these snowmen
hold hands as far as into June as I might like.

I’m reminded not of quick, scolding words
that I had been expecting for so long but of the same

cold censure I see today in my father’s frozen face.
Last year, after seeing the fall and those voters

cheering with hope, inspired by all the celebration,
I put on nothing but my smile. I fashioned a thrift-store hat

on my balding head and a long scarf around my neck,
the ends hanging past where my knees once were,

as all of me crystallized and I emerged
from my bedroom door, a snowman.

We hold hands to band together until
we can huddle like penguins and fight the cold.

These men are all smiles. They fashion thrift-store hats
on their bald heads and long scarves around their necks,

the ends hanging past where their knees would be
if they weren’t snowmen holding hands.

My father fixes this new calendar to the side of our refrigerator
no one ever sees. He leaves it crooked, still in its plastic,

next to an old grocery list as though he
wants to ignore the fact it’s been a whole year.

Twelve months of broken promises and he, too,
still refuses to recognize me. Instead, he critiques

the last few photographs for their aesthetic value:
October’s fallen shades are far too disappointing

because he prefers to see more red,
as is November’s close-up of voters celebrating

in the sun, the CHANGE We Can Believe In,
yet he thinks it’s more exciting than December,

which captures the neighborhood kids
playing in the park, near a makeshift igloo,

next to the two smiling snowmen holding hands:
these pictures had the power to move the country.

My father warns that the sun will never let these snowmen
hold hands as far as into June as I might like.

I’m reminded not of quick, scolding words
that I had been expecting for so long but of the same

cold censure I see today in my father’s frozen face.
Last year, after seeing the fall and those voters

cheering with hope, inspired by all the celebration,
I put on nothing but my smile. I fashioned a thrift-store hat

on my balding head and a long scarf around my neck,
the ends hanging past where my knees once were,

as all of me crystallized and I emerged
from my bedroom door, a snowman.

We hold hands to band together until
we can huddle like penguins and fight the cold.