Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SNOWFLAKES IN HELL, by LEN ROBERTS

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SNOWFLAKES IN HELL, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: We would all melt from the heat / of our sins
Subject(s): Schools; Snow; Students

We would all melt from the heat of our sins
like snowflakes in hell,
Sister Ann Zita hissed
that darkening upstate
New York November afternoon
as we traced and cut flakes
from the heavy white construction paper,
such odd angles sprinkled with gold sparkle
I find myself even now tilting
to make some sense of them,
seeing again those I've held, palm up, in gloved hands,
those I've watched float on fur collars
where my warm breath melted them
as I leaned down for this kiss, that kiss,
flakes slapped against the windshield to instantly melt
in their own unique shapes
on those many-miled treks
to the Albany and Ithaca V.A. hospitals
for brother in his electroshocked cell
or father in his drunken stupor,
my first love blowing me in the great snowstorm of that year --
the radio kept warning they could not clear the interstate,
but we would not stop or turn around,
her gold-speckled lips leaving flecks, glittering,
that I've stared at for years --
like that sparkle flung with a quick twist of the wrist
onto the six triangle tips that formed
even as red and yellow hell-flames roared
on the blackboard of that third-grade class,
Sister shouting that the very heat of our bodies was Satan's work
before she asked for a show of hands of who was cold, who was not,
the seven sinners made to clear our desks and move to the farthest row
against the windows, where those flakes we'd struggled to make neither rose nor
just floated there in such erratic shapes, taped to what was clearly invisible.

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