“Overnight Snow”

A Poem by Ted Kooser

September 9, 2020  By Ted Kooser

Before walking to work, and in still-falling snow,
my father in hat, suit, topcoat, and galoshes
would scoop our sidewalk. Only a few sounds
came in to me out of the predawn darkness:
the scrapes of not one but two shovels, each scrape
with a tap at the end to knock off the snow, then
a word or two, muffled, back and forth between
my father and our next-door neighbor, Elmo Mallo,
who was out shoveling, too. And later, after both
had gone to work and I’d be setting out for school,
I’d see their boot prints—can see them still, after
seventy years—my father’s on one side of the line
where their shovels met, and Mr. Mallo’s on the other.


red stilts, ted kooser

From Red Stilts by Ted Kooser. Used with permission from Copper Canyon Press. Copyright © 2020.

Ted Kooser
Thirteenth United States Poet Laureate (2004–2006) Ted Kooser is a retired life insurance executive who lives on acreage near the village of Garland, Nebraska, with his wife, Kathleen Rutledge. He is a visiting professor at the University of Nebraska, where he teaches poetry and nonfiction writing. His collection Delights & Shadows was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry in 2005. His poems have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The Hudson Review, The Antioch Review, The Kenyon Review, and dozens of other literary journals. His memoir, Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps, a Barnes & Noble Discover finalist, also won the 2002 Friends of American Writers Award and ForeWord Magazine’s gold medal recognition for autobiographical writing. He is the author of eight full-length collections of poetry, nine chapbooks and special editions, and Braided Creek, a collaboration with Jim Harrison, published by Copper Canyon Press in 2003. Kindest Regards: New and Selected Poems was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2018.

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