The Snow Angel

by Laurie Byro
Babilu
Third Place, May 2014
Judged by R.T. Castleberry


My father, who dies on the longest night of the year, returns
a month later, somehow fifty three years old, a wild-eyed charmer,
to tell me that the dead aren’t worrying about the living, that

each snow flake falling, is a wish spoken before it hits the earth.
I am half awake, I rub my eyes. He stamps the porch, begging
for a decent cup of coffee, saying he has no rest for all those wishes,

no sleep for all those mad-rushes to pull us safely
to the curb. I am skeptical. I hand him his coffee: milk, no sugar.
He has that sheepish grin, that wolf-sure twinkle. “Tell me

you aren’t disappointed dad, show me how you know
it’s all ok.” He guffaws his coffee. “I would sleep like the dead.
Instead, I have dervis-toddlers, toothless men. Mostly I have you.

Lighten up, they say, winter’s my busy season.” I blink, his cup
is empty, I was about to make us tea. His shoes wait by his empty bed,
good-will is coming next month. Each day I walk through a forest

with somebody’s name carved on a tree. All winter, during long
feathery nights, wishes swirl round the house, falling
on the neighborhood, on the chimneys while we sleep.


A late night ghostly appearance by a recently deceased parent could be the signal for angst and recriminations, tears and turmoil. In “The Snow Angel” it becomes a wistfully funny visitation by a busy, thirsty dad checking on his kid-- “My father, who dies on the longest night of the year, returns/a month later, somehow fifty three years old…”, to explain why he’s been gone, “he has no rest for all those wishes,/no sleep for all those mad-rushes to pull us safely/to the curb.” They have a cheerful, consoling chat over coffee and the father is gone, back to working wishes—“during long/ feathery nights, wishes swirl round the house, falling/on the neighborhood, on the chimneys while we sleep.” --R.T. Castleberry

  • May2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Burying My Brother
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

      Second Place

      The Asian man who walks past the balcony
      by Daniel J. Flore III
      Babilu

      Third Place

      Five Hundred Yards from Home
      by Richard Moorhead
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • April 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      In the next life we were married
      by Ken Brownlow
      The Waters

      Second Place

      To a Wayward Son
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Waters

      Third Place

      Separation
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Writer's Block