A slagheap of dollars
with portions hidden behind facades
designed by famous international architects
down on their luck
–an immense tailings mound of money
toward which fleets of tanker trucks
sloshed full of additional cash
stream to disgorge

Two inches of fresh snow overnight
at mid-May

A buffalo standing, head lowered, defeated
as though formed of suburban ornamental brush
in a yard beside the traffic stalled at the corner of
32nd Avenue and Shaganappi
just east of Market Mall

Cigarette smoke
churning onto the street from the bar doorways
where according to the police crime tally
young white men stab each other every second midnight
alternating with Vietnamese gangs whose preference for disputes is
pistols and long guns

A metropolis in which
nobody is born
permitting the demolition of half the hospitals
and the resultant tax saving applied
to subsidize private plastic surgery clinics

A blizzard
pushing southward in June, that drags down
limbs of the ornamental cherry
and suffocates the narcissus

A Dodge pickup
hauling two dead cows, heads lolling out the tailgate
in an attempt to hold at a distance
the customary flock of spoiler-equipped sports cars
quivering inches behind whatever moves along asphalt
in their anxiety to be anyplace else

Frost on the lawns
one July morning

Sour gas corporation CEOs
awarded annual remuneration
four hundred times the average wage of company employees
who still insist they are generously paid
A person who lives off investments
complaining about the sloth of the poor

Icy wind from the mountains
August 13th, snowflakes suspended in mid-air
from an overcast, melting when they eventually descend

Swaths of tract houses eating the Prairie
at each cardinal point: acres of treeless bloated dwellings
that seep outward from the shopping centers

in early September, the streets whitening

as the Bow River curls quietly through
wafting its suicides and abandoned mattresses
toward Hudson’s Bay, lower trunks of the cottonwood
and aspen that line its route
wrapped in wire to discourage the presence of beaver
and thus demonstrate efficient management of the biosphere

To the north, the featureless hump of Nose Hill Park
rears over its expanding ring of freeways
–bleak tombstone for what failed to thrive

~ Tom Wayman

Bio: Dirty Snow is Tom Wayman’s eighteenth collection of poems. He has edited a number of anthologies, including The Dominion of Love (2001). His published fiction includes two books of short stories and the novel Woodstock Rising (2009).

To read more of the poet’s work click here

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