Les Neiges d’Antan

Listen to audio of Gerald Stern reading “Les Neiges d’Antan”here.

Where art thou now, thou Ruth whose husband in the snow
creased thy head with a tire iron, thou who wore
ridiculous hats when they were the rage and loved
exotic cultures and dances such as the Haitian
Fling and the Portuguese Locomotive, my wife
hated because of her snooty attitude
or that her hair was swept up and her nose was aquiline
and her two boys raised hell with our green apples
the Sunday they came to visit, she in whose Mercury
we parked for over a year, once every night
in front of her mother’s house in one of the slightly
genteel streets that led into the park
the other side downhill really from the merry-go-round,
or where is Nancy or who is Nancy Ezra Pound
located in between his racial diatribes
and dry lyrics three times at least in the Cantos,
but tell me where that snow is now and tell me—
as in where is Tangerine and where is Flora
how old Ruth is and where does she live and does she
still dance the Locomotive and does she bundle.