Reading Late, in Winter

The lamp still buzzes;
Its dull fluorescent glare
Makes windows opaque
To the dance of flurried snow in the outside air.
Frozen branches crack,
The falling snow hisses
Groundward in the dark.
Inside I read
Cold-blooded Dante, climb the stubborn peak
Which surely soon must lead
To Beatrice,
Or I must give it up.
On a page of notes
I sketch an imaginary girl with eyes as deep
And crystal as the moats
Of Paradise,
Her forehead high and clear
As Beatrice’s.
And I find all that I ever want to love there.
Other eyes and faces
Look straight at you
and are too definite.
I want the snow to stop and let the moon
Fill up the night.
And I want to run
Changing, screaming
Out over the snow,
Feel growing tooth and fingernail becoming
Bloody fang and claw.
I find myself running
Up the attic stairs
To the roof to throw
La Divina Commedia over the houses and stars
In a crestfallen vow
To leave home,
Books, everything.
I hear truck tires
Along empty highways droning their siren song
Of ultimate longs and fars.