Snows after & upon snow

have left our landscape

a scream of white

which we look at

slightly dumbstruck

as we eat our standard

lunch and try to talk.

Suddenly she cries out

look! a butterfly,

and I turn to see

a spot, a blur, of color

in a straggly nearby tree.

No, I say, it’s a

cardinal! A cardinal

in this snow, late winter.

Think of that. Did he miss

the message about flying

south? Or does his

bright plumage itself

provide the answer—

And he’s just arrived?

Cioffi graduated from Sparta High School in 1969. He was a lecturer and visiting professor at Princeton and is now an English professor at CUNY. He lives in Princeton Junction with his wife.

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