If You've Ever Lived

Mark Harrison


[Table of Contents]
[Editor's Note]

where it snows, you know how ugly it gets.

We plow virgin blankets of the pretty stuff
into the gutter, where it’s covered over
with sheets of dirt and ice.

Our cars get dressed each day in skirts
of salt, tied up in ribbons of traffic.

We steer them obliviously
past coatless, bony trees
that seem happy
going nowhere.

We wake naked
under the raw sky
to another nasty morning
when the heat won't work.

Our pipes are old and our floorboards cold
as our lover's feet when they hop
back in bed and our groggy arms
and refuse to leave us

We moan
like stuck trumpets,
bare heels and asses
pitched high in the air.

We indulge the slow traffic
between the sheets and the blankets.

We can't escape the beautiful stuff.

It's everywhere, serenaded
by horns, decorated with wrecks.


Mark Harrison moved from Sacramento, California to Central New York in the fall of 2000 to attend the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Syracuse University. He says, "Before moving to Syracuse, snow was something I drove to to play in, not lived through to bitch about. The old apartment building I moved into, as it turned out, was infamous for its schizo heating. I froze, while the apartment kitty-corner to mine was so sweltering that the girl who lived there threw open her windows and strolled around in a half-shirt and thong all winter. Her apartment looked onto the building parking lot. She didn't care. Still, my first winter in Syracuse spawned shovels full of snowy irritations. 'If You've Ever Lived' is the first to see print." His other poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in The American River Literary Review, Bloodstone, The California State Poetry Quarterly, Carriage House Review, The Seattle Review, and ¡Zambomba!