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Ice

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The limbs bent under ice
above me, glinting transparent
like knives ratcheting the
dry air as I crunched through
newly frozen ice. My socks
were damp with walking:
sweat and slush.

I pressed my body's heat
inward towards center
keeping balance on blackened
pavement between the
fleshy drifts. I longed to
plunge red hot into the
ice, to melt it into puddles.

The day froze metal
gray swaths of light
and I was alone walking
walking through the courtyard
sidling a great square were
there would have sat many
young vigorous bodies lumped
together into steamy heaps.

Then I was beside the river, 
charcoal with gulls prancing along the
crust. Underneath scum-eating
fish shivered waiting for the
lure to take them by the mouth
but not now when the sky was
only a filter and the flapping of
bird wings.

Along the sidewalks, lingering in
a coffee shop where it was warm
and though about some things that
had rung before, lodged in
reverie by the needle winds. A
hood would have helped.

The chair squeaked and I think
Cracked a little and I lit a cigarette
and swallowed some of the heat with
the coffee. I looked out the paned
fogged glass at the figures distended
like smoke.

Lumpy raunchy people hurrying past.
Some stopped, and at them I smiled,
their face glum, and they turned away
moving toward the counter. Taxis lit the
windows with their festive yellow,
incessant desperate winter capitalists.

I touched my finger to the spoon hot
from coffee and then flicked an ash.
I let my focus drift to the dark water
on the tile of the shop

©1995 Chris Abraham