To the Boy Who Burned a Snowman

Thomas Reiter

I thought of you again this morning
after a spring snowfall; of how, one
after another, wooden matches
—your mother’s stove lighters?—
flared as you came up the road
long after dark so many years ago,
a boy I’d never seen before.I watched from an upstairs window:
you set the head against your forefinger,
the other end against your thumb,
and with a dip of the shoulder
like a submarine pitcher, a fireman,
pinwheeled a burst off the macadam.No design but play, yet somehow
one with distance landed beside
the snowman I fashioned that morning—
an impulse from the crystalline yard,
my children grown and gone.The hound’s-tooth coat, its frayed hem
trailing on the snow, its worth
fallen far below Goodwill, caught fire
that climbed to the woolen muffler
mice had nested in. And last the Tinkertoy
arms outstretched to you. You didn’tsee me, nor did I tap a threatening
gesture on the pane. A full moon,
and so of all the proud men
created from that out-of-season snow
he was his own light. You tooka step back as if to run, but then
slowly approached. You stood facing him
as though something—a secret?—
passed between snowman and boy.You never reappeared, who started him
on his way home. He’d had his time.
I watched him pass into the spring grass,
where his absence would abound.

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Thomas Reiter is Emeritus Professor of Humanities at Monmouth University. In 2017 he was awarded the James Boatwright Poetry Prize from Shenandoah for his poem “St. Gwynfed’s Parishioner.”

The Hudson Review

Summer 2018

New York, New York

Paula Deitz

Founding Editor
Frederick Morgan (1922-2004)

Managing Editor
Ronald Koury

Associate Editor
Zachary Wood

Assistant Editor
Eileen Talone

Founded in 1948, The Hudson Review is a quarterly magazine of literature and the arts published in New York City. Frederick Morgan, one of its founding editors, edited the magazine for its first fifty years. Paula Deitz has been the editor since 1998.

Since its beginning, the magazine has dealt with the area where literature bears on the intellectual life of the time and on diverse aspects of American culture. It has no university affiliation and is not committed to any narrow academic aim or to any particular political perspective. The magazine serves as a major forum for the work of new writers and for the exploration of new developments in literature and the arts. It has a distinguished record of publishing little-known or undiscovered writers, many of whom have become major literary figures. Each issue contains a wide range of material including: poetry, fiction, essays on literary and cultural topics, book reviews, reports from abroad, and chronicles covering film, theatre, dance, music and art. The Hudson Review is distributed in twenty-five countries.

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