“Houston Snow” by Deborah Phelps

Before dawn, snow tips the loden
Magnolias, the pin oaks, the dying palms.
Frost lies pristine in the ribs
Of the pines.

At daybreak the whiteness recedes
With children out of school
Scraping it off the car hoods
Into dirty snowmen.

This half-inch is the first ever
Seen by these children, and even
Some of their parents, who try
To take as many photos as possible

For future, warmer generations.
Afternoon, the coastal Gulf Stream
Bumps the temperature
Until snow is only barely
Visible on hedge-tops

A lace tablecloth kept for best.


Deborah Phelps teaches at Sam Houston State University. She has published a chapbook, Deep East, and in journals such as Gulf Coast, Comstock Review, and Red Coyote. She lives in Huntsville, Texas.

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