The Invention of the Snowman

Somewhere beyond the bounds of sleep
my bones undressed, rising from their flesh
to become this selfless, falling dust.

It was then I wanted ears
with which to hear the familiar cries
of those children building me.

And of course I had no eyes
only this unfailing bandage of light,
the snow sewing its colorless view.

But worst of all, this thirst to be living–
to understand those small, clumsy hands
making the same careless mistakes as God.

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Mark Irwin’s poem “The Invention of the Snowman” was previously published in The Halo of Desire by Galileo Press. Irwin is the author of nine collections of poetry. His poetry and essays have appeared in many literary magazines including American Poetry Review, Agni Review, theAtlantic Monthly, Georgia Review, the Kenyon Review, Paris Review, Pleiades, Poetry magazinethe Nation, New England Review, New American Writing, theNew Republic, and the Southern Review. Recognition for his work includes The Nation/Discovery Award, four Pushcart Prizes, two Colorado Book Awards, the James Wright Poetry Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Fulbright, Lilly, and Wurlitzer Foundations. He is an associate professor in the PhD in Creative Writing & Literature Program at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles and Colorado.