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.