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M.J. Arcangelini

An Absence of Snow

It doesn’t snow here, although there
Are winter mornings when the frost
Is enough to make one wonder,
Joints grind against themselves,
Skin shudders, shedding warmth.

It does not snow here, though all the
Leaves have vacated their perches
And the naked branches hang empty
Anticipating the wet weight of snow,
Even though it won’t snow here.

The calendar can tell me when winter
Has arrived or my bones can tell me,
Or the aches in muscles which never
Ached before when doing those things
Which no longer seem worth doing.

Bones know better than digital clocks,
Better than daylight savings time,
Better than the holiday displays in
Every store and on every downtown
Street where merchants ply their trade.

Snow has no power on the California
Coast, it is merely a distant relative
Who lives up in the boonies, sufficiently
Inclined to deep suspicion of outsiders
As to greet all visitors with a shotgun.

My Mother Grows Old

She hardly ever left the recliner but only rarely reclined it.
Gathered an afghan around her most of the time, always cold.

Grand and great-grandchildren visited occasionally. She told
me, “I can’t believe I have a son who qualifies for MediCare.”

The television was on all day as she nodded in and out. News, talk
shows, game shows, more news, police procedurals and sitcoms.

Memories of Santo Domingo, Las Vegas, Nashville Fan Weeks,
and the Knoxville World’s Fair weighed on her static existence.

Several times every day she had to enter the kitchen to fix her
shrinking meals. Her husband died there four decades earlier.

The rugs were removed from her house to prevent another fall.

She stopped taking all her pills and then sat alone, waiting.

M.J. (Michael Joseph) Arcangelini was born 1952 in western Pennsylvania. He has resided in northern California since 1979. He has published in a lot of little magazines, online journals, & over a dozen anthologies.  He is the author of five collections, the most recent of which are “What the Night Keeps,” Stubborn Mule Press 2019, and “A Quiet Ghost,” Luchador Press 2020. Arcangelini has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He can be reached at


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