365 Poems/196 Below Zero (Rough First Draft)

Below Zero

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.