In which we have been instructed to find the universal in the particular

                                                            donée, what has been given

as in Joyce, The Dead

which I loved then like no other

as it opened and opened its gorgeous trapdoor

                                     all the down and falling—

in the corner at the top of the stairs

in that endless valley, in the flatness

of what had been given

                                     silt     peat     loam

on that circle on the shore of that drained meadow

gone subdivision gone heat-stroke shimmer

where once in a decade snow fell, where they once

let us out on the playground because of it, where

no one had mittens where I had only a pink rayon dress

where it could have been

something other, pollen perhaps, something

we knew, but this, but instead

the sky opened

just as we imagined in all the stories, chasing—

                                     the snow falling faintly through the universe

                                     and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end,

                                     upon all the living and the dead

I took it and ran for the mountain

I took it and built a mountain

I took it and built a city

I took it and ran for

I took it

it was gorgeous it was ours not ours ours

we did not know how hard we were working

it fell on our hands and we wrote it into the sky


Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet is the author of The Greenhouse (Frost Place Chapbook Prize) and Tulips, Water, Ash (Morse Poetry Prize). Her poems have appeared in journals such as Blackbird, Kenyon Review, Plume, and Zyzzyva, in anthologies including Nasty Women Poets and The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry, and online at Poem-A-Day and Poetry Daily. She teaches at Portland’s Literary Arts and Seattle’s Hugo House, and hosts the Portland reading series Lilla Lit and Literary Bingo. (lisagluskinstonestreet.com