The Lake Effect


It swoops down from Canada,
this legendary mongoose
with a wingspan that plasters
the downwind side of the Great Lakes.

Descends on ordinary citizens
who just want to punch their card,
get to school, or arrive in time to see
the latest high school basketball phenom
that won’t make it out of there.

The ogre wreaks havoc
on gas stations and grocery stores,
emptying shelves of substance and sustenance.
Funny though, the giant’s presence
is never unforeseen,
always arriving according to
the calendar of Old Man Winter.

Sometimes the colossal fiend
clips off a section of land
sparing Westerners as they cluck about their luck.
The tyrant travels with gusto
through eastern portions of cities
liberating layer upon layer of its wrath,

causing crashes and burned dinners,
reducing visibility into the future,
and forcing shovels from their bins.
Mittens and gloves dried by the heaters
are returned to service for the next round.

Forecasters treat the creature with reverence
praising the virtues of its might
while ordinary people combat it
with snow blowers, scrapers and picks,
digging out their dignity, only to lose it again.

It is hard to be happy here.

When finally weariness shows,
Spring comes
and the same titan
that barreled down on the populace
will gently soothe
their foreheads and tempers.
But sometimes it is too late
for the kindness that comes.

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