Imagined Arrival

Matthew Sweeney

White are the streets in this shabbiest-
grown of the world’s great cities,
whiter than marshmallow angels.
Descending by parachute, one would be
arriving in a world long dead.
One would also be stiff with cold.

And if one, perhaps, would dangle there
in a skeletal tree, swigging brandy
from the equipment, rubbing fur ear-flaps,
one would have a view of the street
unhindered by involvement, as about one
the parachute would hang like snow.

And while getting one’s wits back, groping
for a knife, a slow van would stop
leaving bottles of snow; and a man nearby
would dig the white from his steps
while a woman in a window opposite
might smile as he uncovered dirt.

By this stage pigeons would investigate
and one’s toes would long be numb.
One would give up, and call for help
or if successful with the knife, drop down
leaving onlookers noticing the parachute
as one asked for soup, and began to explain.