Out they come in concert,

one man then another –

their orchestra of shovels

tuning up on the ice.

Backs bent to lemon-white

in February’s thin

afternoon, they’re heating grunts

that cool to clouds with each

scooped payload heaved to lawns;

scraping snow from black hoofs:

their cattle of cars, docile,

cut off by this weather.

Women appear with fists

of mugs. Scarved children shriek.

The menfolk lean on their tools,

like all labour were theirs.