New Hampshire Notches in December

by Parker Towle

Crawford Notch—no views,
today watery snow
crusts the headlights, pebbles
the windshield. Deepening
ruts of a car that struggles
up ahead swerve with no center lines
to guide. When he stops
to strip ice, wet snow

swirls down his neck. Back inside
his reddened hands clutch
the wheel. It’s too late to turn back.
Wheel spins flick the speedometer.
Under Frankenstein cliffs
wind shifts lighter snow,
clears spots, jolts the car.
He shifts up on the flats toward

Bretton Woods and Twin. As
sudden as a shutter, snow
stops, no wind, clear
black. Within two minutes
or is it hours, millennia, a splash
rains down that wipers cannot wash,
roads glaze; He slows toward
Franconia Notch, more rocking wind.