Lauren Henley - 2012 Orange Monkey Poem Contest Winner

SNOWFALL IN LATE MARCH (Laytonville, California)

On A-frames,
on double-wide trailers,
on davenports, wraparound decks
and sagging front porches,
on the joint bars of railway,
on the plastic dump trucks, fire engines, and Scrabble tiles
left in driveways,
in the beds of Chevys and Fords that haven’t moved
for a dozen winters,
on the street signs for Harmon and Dos Rios,
on the rusted spades left at worksites,
on the jackets of the adults
smoking Seneca Menthol 100s
in front of Boomer’s Bar,
on the knit caps of the children
waiting at bus stops
and the beaks and flashing tail feathers
of dark-eyed juncos,
on the etched dates and cursive names of gravestones,
on the half-buried quartz,
on the sleeping roaches that look like
dates rolled in sugar,
the shrubs of red currant
and the sparse purple leaves
of buckwheat,
in the remaining wax cells of honeycomb
left by a black bear,
on the young mother who has pulled over
to let her boy touch the banks,
on the postal-blue of her button-down shirt
and the eyelets of her name badge,
on the evergreens that seem closer together
than before—gathered, the woman thinks
in a crowded kind of heaven
on all of this,
the snow is falling in silence.
Let silence mean painless,
let it mean reverie, something even better,
as it falls lightly
on the bridge of this boy’s nose and the small bones
of his reddening ears, on the mane of his
miniature horse that he makes gallop along the bank
with a bare and reddening hand.

Lauren Henley was born and raised in Joshua Tree, CA, where she currently resides. Her work has appeared in A River and Sound ReviewThe Medulla ReviewRiver Styx and is forthcoming in RHINO Magazine.  She is the winner of the 2012 Duckabush Prize in Poetry.