Episode #140 First Snow - Aria Aber

08.28.2021 - By Close Talking: A Poetry Podcast

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Connor and Jack discuss the poem "First Snow" by Aria Aber. They explore the poem's subtle and marvelous use of perspective, the representation of snow and frost, and the poem's resonances with the devastating impact US war and intervention has had on Afghanistan.

Learn more about Aria Aber here: https://www.ariaaber.com/

Get a copy of her debut collection Hard Damage here: https://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/university-of-nebraska-press/9781496215703/

Find Aber's resources to support Afghans here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10-SLGJEb39jpN_vEw8ruvba3iS1BmeU5QoW1AdGEL7M/edit

First Snow
By: Aria Aber

How easy for snow to turn to ice, for snow
to disappear the light from the ragged

frame of chestnut trees around the warehouse
by what’s left of wild chicory, scraped

sculptures, weeping dogbane. Hunger borders
this land, while snow turns all to immigrants,

snow salts the embankment, where turtles wash ashore,
literally hundreds of them, frozen hard

like grenades of tear gas thrown across
a barbwire fence. But who of their free

will would ever want to climb that fence
to live here, who would pray each night

for grace, hoping to pass through the darkened veil
of shit, to bear witness to smokestacks,

wild champion, knapweed? Who’d loiter around cricks
glistening with oil, which, once gone,

will, like death, at last, democratize
us all? On potato sacks in the snowcapped,

abandoned warehouse, there huddle and sit
the soiled refugees, bereft, cow-eyed,

picking dirt off their scalps, their shelled soles.
Among them, wordless, is my mother,

and nestled on her lap is I, in love with the light
of the first snow of my life, so awed

and doubtful still of what lengths the frost wills
to go, and what shape it will then take—

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