Beverly Hennessy Summa

First Snow Avenue A, 1999 

The apartment on Avenue A had a seamy and surprising way 
of making every one of its visitors feel loved.   
With its wide, double-hung windows and spacious living room,  
the East Village walkup whispered memories of a patinaed history.  
Smoke-stained walls & age-worn floors hid a sacred vault  
of late-night conversations and private confessions.          
It was easy to summon the ghosts of the past   
or even believe that these rooms might have witnessed 
the divine providence of our angelheaded hipsters,  
perhaps in meditation or verse. 
With so much history, real or imagined, 
the apartment exhaled a heady air of enchantment  
over its current occupants, and I was their invited guest.  
On this Saturday night we gathered around an oversized coffee table 
that was littered with empty beer bottles and ashtrays  
that brimmed with lip-sticked cigarette butts.  
Under the crepuscular light, the avenue softened  
into a John Sloan painting, as snow slipped from the sky,  
and Dylan’s Temporary Like Achilles strummed & rattled  
through the stereo’s speakers.  
One of the roommates had a hand drum  
and slapped a languorous beat against its skin,   
while someone else lifted a recalcitrant window,  
allowing the snow to blow into the room.  
It was the first snow of the season, and its glittering presence 
roused our attention like the unexpected entrance of a lost lover. 
With each of us leaning out the window,  
we scooped up handfuls of snow, 
and tossed it at each other like cold party confetti, 
while from the street below, a pair of kids 
launched a friendly attack, pitching a barrage 
of snowballs at our open window.  
They were city kids, snow children, who appeared  
like a mirage under the shadowy glow of streetlight, 
then retreated into the distant acres of my mind.  
It was a dreaming time, a careless time.   
and even in that moment, the apartment was preparing 
for another departure.  
Later in the night, feeling beer heavy and hungry, 
I walked through ankle-deep snow,  
back to the Astor Place Station, to catch a 6-train uptown.   
I didn’t know that I would only visit the apartment one more time. 
& like most reunions with long-lost lovers,  
the snow would leave with a messy exit the following afternoon, 
melting into oily streams & washing down First Avenue, 
into the gutter flow of memory. 

Beverly's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Chiron Review, Buddhist Poetry Review, Trailer Park Quarterly, Nerve Cowboy and Plum Tree Tavern.  She has a BA in English and is a Pushcart nominee.  Beverly is the owner of a music school and store that she operates with her husband.  She grew up in Yonkers, New York and New Hampshire and currently resides in South Salem, New York with her family.  


  1. A beautiful little piece which easily took me to a special place in the city, and the start of a new season.

  2. Beautiful imagery. Felt so familiar.


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