365 Poems/196 Below Zero (Rough First Draft)
Our child is born below zero.
Her first gift a shot gun,
and two bullets, as polar bears
will follow a scent for days.
But her breathing collapses.
I can hear death as he comes closer,
and my screams churn fresh snow
I ignore the coffee on the windowsill.
My hands are hazards, my thoughts
clawing at roots until I’m partway
back to the beginning, where the horizon
was first full of foreign shapes.
I linger in the blue underground,
out of sight of your love. The ice will
not let me through. All there is is silence.
I face south, my back to the forever
falling snow. I let bare skin touch
cold metal, sharp as an unsheathed knife.
You hold the sea down for me, but
I’m unable to cross, leaving her small
skull under the fine layers of night.
Bones in our wrists are fragile as hours.
Shadows flood dreams that call us back.
You love me through the melancholy
music of winter and into spring.
You lick my fingers, dip them into
shallow bowls of sugar. Crystals
cling to my skin.