Superbowl Sunday

The snowflakes, molten feathers of white, come down
beneath the dull sky grey, and drift across
the patchwork brick and window, rusty brown
and faded curtains, heeding to the law
of 1/2at2, less speed times co-
efficient drag.

And then a gust confounds
the gentle current of the lemming's stroke,
and in the microvortex of a bound-
ary layer, one flake is hurled to a halt:
from buoyant fluid air to atoms fixed
in window glass: from random gaseous mix
to formula of potash, sand and chalk:
transparent to transparent.
And fate--if fate
within a clockwork universe makes sense--
conveys it to a conscious gaze, and saves
this flake, mere frozen H2O, from men's
idealistic doubt (like the sound of fall-
ing trees in forests, when someone's there to hear).
This adventitious listener recalls
imagined history, from a less-than-zer-
o Celsius, vapor-rich high troposphere,
through drifting, wandering in vector-space
of turbulent forces and aerodynamic ar-
rows: tracing curves of enviable grace,
continuous and differentiable:
an engram of existence converging on
this rendezvous. Two entities, each full
from cosmic whims, then share one moment, anon-
ymous and intimate.
And without pause
the edges of the flake, 1 calorie-
per-gram-degree, succumb to radiant heat:
transforming crystal structure as it thaws
to Brownian movement: units of three spheres
whose axes of 105 degrees
now map and rotate independently:
hydrogen oxide to hydrogen oxide: a third
transparent layer.
The white flake withers and
collapses. And when it reaches threshold mass,
it breaks the wet adhesion to the sur-
face and gains momentum to the frozen earth.
The grey on grey, amorphous in the sky,
now hastens with renewed ferocity
across the cells arrayed behind the eye
and is forgotten in a century.

© Douglas Allchin