Leveler Poetry Journal
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The World Unseen


Sir Thomas Browne believed in his own salvation

as he believed in Constantinople,

where he had never been. Today,

my street is a Constantinople

of snow.


As though I’d failed to pay my bill,

the snow has shut off all connections.

Gone is the shape the world offers me–

the hiss of distant, rustle of nearby

leaves, the hammer’s crack

rebounding off successive roofs, lilac

scent that swells and then dopplers away.


Instead I have silence, cold,

the muffled uninformative

probing of my cane, and now

the scrape           scrape, of a snow-shovel.

Hello, I say.

Nothing. The lift and toss,

the powder’s diffuse arc, must be inferred;

Excuse me, I call.

No response.

If the shoveler does not exist, it will

be necessary to invent him.


This must be how the dead persist,

bundled in their shrouds

of static, grasping at fragments,

trying to get the attention of a stranger.

Roy White