Whiteout–Jeff Burt



The blizzard obliterated all details.

Outside the snow smothered all color

and man’s enhancements on terrain

and inside did just as well—books

began to lose their words as white space

blew in from the edges, and music

disappeared canceled by white noise.

I started to test the rug as if capped

by a slim ice that I might fall through,

and noticed as the day darkened

my soles had lost all feeling.

No one would have power until the fury passed,

and then it would be pieced back together

like a set of rags is turned

into the cover for a quilt.


I thought of you, Donny, so many years

accumulated like one snowfall after the other

that what common ground we knew

has disappeared under this long sheet

of whiteness, our conversation stilled.

When I walk on snow, I still feel

the ruts and swales of history between us,

or like a river in summer turns placid,

gone from spring-melt rage

to a dawdle and dwindling flow,

when I immerse, I can sense

the shape the current took.


When morning came

I saw the lampposts first, then

troughs where the roads had been

and the first mitigation of the blizzard

in the chug of a tractor and a farmer

tossing seed onto the snow for birds.

We have not written for many years.

I scatter these words on a new page for you.

One thought on “Whiteout–Jeff Burt

  1. I truly enjoyed the word play in this poem. I suspect you did too. Have you considered a continuation of this poem? Perhaps a poetic conversation between you and Donny.


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