Andrew Hubbard

Wild Goose Poetry Review, No 34, Spring 2018


THE SNOWMAN

In wet snow and pale sunlight
I am Sisyphus of the backyard
Rolling a mighty snow sphere
To be the bottom third of a snowman.

I have helpers:
Four little grandkids
In their bright snowsuits
Giggling and half-focused
On the task at hand.

They help me start
A second ball for the snowman’s middle
Then wander off, eating snow
And watching some geese fly overhead.

Hercules of suburbia
I lift the second ball into place
And lean against it gasping,
Thoroughly winded. I whisper to myself:
“I got a right—my first snowman
Was sixty years ago.”

The “head” snowball is easy
And now I call the kids together
To discuss decoration:
We need a top hat
A pipe, and coal pieces
For the features and vest buttons.

Four kids produce
Eight deer-in-headlight eyes
And I realize we have a strategic problem:
The kids have never seen a top hat,
Never seen a man smoke a pipe,
Never even seen a piece of coal.

I need to involve a higher power.

Without missing a beat, my wife
Snips circles out of black plastic cups
For features and vest buttons,
And finds a zip-off parka hood for a top hat.

The plastic cup leftovers
Produce semi-circles
For eyebrows and dimples.

Now she’s unstoppable.

She paints on a vest with orange food coloring,
And makes a pipe out of aluminum foil.

The kids are transfixed, with open mouths.
I am too.

Finally, soaked, exhausted, and dripping
We troop inside for hot chocolate with marshmallows
And I reflect with satisfaction that this treat
Hasn’t changed in a hundred years.

My cup gets a major jolt of Irish Whisky.
I’m a little embarrassed to be so tired,
But the kids have the decency and tact
To fall asleep even before I do:
Little red-cheeked blobs
On every piece of furniture.

Bio: Andrew Hubbard was born and raised in a coastal Maine fishing village. He earned degrees in English and Creative Writing from Dartmouth College and Columbia University, respectively. For most of his career he has worked as Director of Training for major financial institutions, creating and delivering Sales, Management, and Technical training for user groups of up to 4,000. He has had four prose books published, and his most recent books, collections of poetry, were published in 2014, 2016, and 2018. He is a casual student of cooking and wine, a former martial arts instructor and competitive weight lifter, a collector of edged weapons, and a licensed handgun instructor. He lives in rural Indiana with his son, his wife, a giant, black German Shepard, and a gaggle of semi-tame deer.


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