Martini II, by Brenda Yates

There’s no way to count the endless permutations
of a snowflake and no matter how many words Eskimos
are said to have,
there are myriads hooked to any mouth

as in drifts, as in loose powder, fresh powder,
hard-pack, flurry, squall or slant-fall,
sleety needles or feather-flakes,

driven whether wet or dry,
able to create a frost bath, an ice-crust,
and falling heavy or light,

maybe is ice-fall, like hailstones,
more akin to some tropospheric scatter,
or interference creating static on a screen,

or better yet, the way it hisses and clicks touching the ground
with its crisp, new-metal smell

or worse as in snowy, meaning wintry
as an aged one’s hair or the beard of one approaching death,

it can mean sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar, a drug,
or clean linen white as white can be, as in pure, as in bleached,
it’s a kind of bird, a type of wolf, leopard or flower,
patterns of bloom as well as showers of dying blossoms,
tonight: a dusting of snow, tomorrow: blankets of it,

and depended on
for the way it accumulates on mountains,
snowpack, creating the kind of melt that makes a river;

brightly white as of plumage, fleece or breasts,
thus extending itself to soft and desirable,

or the just opposite—it chafes
as when dendrites send information to the cell body
and axons take information away—call it what it is

a chemical/electric storm,
and the synapse a chasm
for the blizzard

Brenda Yates is from nowhere. After growing up in Tennessee, Delaware, Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts, Japan and Hawaii, she settled first in Boston, then Los Angeles. Publications include Askew, Chaparral, Cider Press Review, Coe Review, Eclipse, Ilanot Review, Illuminations, In Posse Review, Kattywompus, Mississippi Review, Mixitini Matrix, Pearl, Princemere, Spillway, StepAway Magazine, and Blue Arc West: An Anthology of California Poets (Tebot Bach), City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry (University of Iowa Press), Manifest West (Western Press Books) and The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee(Texas Review Press). Her awards include a Pushcart nomination, the Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center Poetry Prize, Patricia Bibby Memorial Prize and honorable mention in the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation Poetry Contest.

Brenda Yates

Brenda Yates

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