If your wife hates you
          don’t go out and get another one,
          it’s probably not your fault anyway
          unless you put too many oranges in the bowl
          and were only supposed to place two.
          Still, she probably can’t count
          but that says nothing about the turn of her elbow
          on the countertop.
          Your kids say, Mom likes her chicken to taste like asparagus
          and you say, I goddamn know it,
          can’t you see the green stuff under this wing.
          That’s when your kids start to hate you–
          the volume in your voice,
          the tinker in your lip.
          What the hell, you shout, then walk into the street
          where the snowplows have been turning the road back into a road
          and wait for them to turn you into one as well.
          But, they don’t.
          They hate you too–big tires, red steam–
          and cover you with five feet of snow
          which is just enough to keep your nostrils flaring
          and the wind hates you, the sleet, the whole side of winter
          that barrels in from Canada.
          You’re out there wishing you were an Inuit
          so you could survive this freeze,
          or a penguin, or a guy with a backhoe
          who knows how to hoist an iceberg.
          But you are not and that’s the problem
          so you start to suck and suck and suck
          the snow
          right up inside into the center part of your brain
          to make the hate go away,
          melt it into a big pond where everyone who hates you
          can swim, boat, and fish.
          Which is when you realize, you have it too, the hate—
          for the wife, the kids, the plows, the snow
          but no one is heading out to get rid of you either
          because that’s not how things go down in this part of the world.
          Which is when the sun comes out.
          Which is when you see that everyone is out here
          in the middle of the street with you
          sucking and sucking and sucking the snow
          into the middle of their brains,
          making bodies of water
          and soon
          the whole neighborhood will have so much fresh water
          that all these small little lakes
          will have turned into one big great lake—
          not Huron or Michigan,
          but a sixth one, a new one,
          and that you get to name it,
          something like Lulu, or Francis,
          something like Love.
MATTHEW LIPPMAN is the author of three poetry collections, American Chew, winner of The Burnside Review Book Prize (Burnside Review Book Press, 2013), Monkey Bars (Typecast Publishing, 2010), and The New Year of Yellow, winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Poetry Prize (Sarabande Books, 2007). He is the recipient of the 2014 Georgetown Review Magazine Prize. His essay for GMR’s “Why Write?” series can be read here.