Tonight we drove Against all odds To the Edina Grill Everyone at the bar was sad And eventually left. It is February Another name for the great crushing weight of winter Which lasts too long Which lasts just long enough To purify us for spring. I drank two martinis And ate the sacred salmon It was like going to Mass With a smiling priest Who knows everything And communicates it all In a single glance (He is secretly agnostic). Joanne drove us home And then I shoveled our driveway And then I thought of you, Thomas Merton And shoveled the neighbor’s driveway as well. I want you to know that I will always remember you Thomas Merton I look at the titles of your books — Zen and the Birds of Appetite Raids on the Unspeakable The Wisdom of the Desert The Way of Chang Tzu The Seven Story Mountain And I miss you terribly. How is it even possible that you died? And in such funky circumstances? I want you to know That tonight I will read you Deep into the night. I want you to know That snow still falls in Minnesota The crushing cold Pure, unforgiving, sacrificial, holy And instantly sobering Washes us clean. I set aside my shovel And stared into the full moon I would have gladly stood there all night And frozen to death But I retreated inside To die into another night’s sleep And wake into another day.