Blizzard Of 1888/Poem From The Archives

Blizzard of 1888

We thought the first heat was back

in the city, and we would soon be sharing

shadows again. But winter isn’t done here.


You kiss my throat, coast my cold body

with your warm tongue, while I work

at getting some hot water for coffee.


Children outside in the hall, lips stuck

to stair railings, and pipes that skirt

the building, cry, while parents defrost

sensitive flesh and tug.


You take out the letters I sent you,

tied with a piece of softened leather.

I see the dot of dried blood on each one.

I always pricked my middle finger,

the one you liked to grip.


We talk about the year we were

both novelists. The year all we did

was make protein hot. The year we slept,

your razor sharp ankles against my thighs.


The year we acted as is we had glass eyelids,

fearing one would run away from the other.


We both ache everywhere. Our keen

mouths are closed, trying to retain

every morsel of warmth.


Someone’s skull smacks the sidewalk.

It must be the one concrete square

where snow hasn’t drifted.


The Egyptian down the hall is wailing

for sand dunes and baking sun. Outside

snow is like sheets being buffered by wind.


I imagine a tomato, skin and flesh warmed

on the vine. We realise we could swallow,

the horizon it is so small.


You say my thighs are as cold and white

as the flesh of a chilled coconut,

and guide me to the bed again to get warm.