“Driving Back From Crotched Mountain, Winter Storm, New Year’s Eve”

Click here to listen to John Hodgen read this poem.

The man in front of me—what’s he doing?—pulls over, no signal, ******** to the side of the road,

gets out, begins sloughing his way, stooped and bent against the wind,
********to what I presume

is his driveway winding up and around the small box of a cabin
********that is his home.

He is waving me around, annoyed somehow, his left arm swooping low
********above the snow

in a way no man younger than himself would wave someone around,
********as if he’d been a soldier

or farmer all his life, as if he lived a little closer to the ground, his arm 
********a sweeping scythe,

as if it were his holy job to wave the world to go around, as if he were 
********my father, consigned

instead of hell to Peterborough, New Hampshire, where it turns out
********it always snows,

where he’d have to shovel the length of his driveway before his car would
********even have a prayer

of making it up the hill, and where he knew the minute he finished, 
********when all the clouds

had piled themselves like drunken sheep into the darkest corner of his day,
********the town would

come and plow him in again, as if he were Brueghel’s eternal herdsman,
********his thick black oxen

never reaching town, all the steady, nervy peasants passing him by, 
********heading to a festival,

some Candlemas of earth’s delights, even Icarus dropping in, everyone 
********in a lather,

was waiting for them just up the road, the man—what is his problem?—
********waving them ahead.