Friday, June 30, 2006


One winter
my wife and I
built a snowman
of ice and string.

The melting snow
bled into the Hudson;
the roots of thin
steel beasts watched us
from their berth.

The haze in a yellow arc
shivered with glass eyes—
the red wail of sirens
bit into our clasped hands.

That night in our bed
her fingers with their
many silvered rings
sought my hair;
then my tongue
grew into her bristle,
into slipping teeth.

Our baby's hand
reached through the womb,
and that winter ended.

Five years after,
I write this letter
to her old voice
in my skin.

I tie her plaid scarf
to my wrist,
I watch smoke
spring between red/blue gables.
That Hudson,
that old oak shakes
the hung dead from arms and canyons
of snow belting ice in my hair.

I remember black stones
in the Snowman's face;
a scarf and a crooked hat
we set between the twigs.

We hugged snow in our shirts,
wrestled with our wet skin until
the ice kiss rubbed us
to a silent stare,
as blood blew my tongue
to her blood;
our hair shone in crisp pentangles,
cut jewels glistened in skin.

I remember those
dry hands that leapt out
from my hair.

I crawl to the Hudson,
to stare at ice sheets,
and I play with the photo
of her face, that haunts my wall.

In my window
a woodsman
bangs his shovel
hard into ice
to cut steps home,
to pack the snow
into ruts for boots
and sleighs,
to gray and melt
with cinders and mud—
then to drift
to that Hudson.

At my desk,
I search inside the wooden box
where I keep silk and string;
pearl buttons from the Snowman's coat.

I remember
the holes her red boots cut
in clean snow.

I speak for
an ancient snow beast
I can no longer
rub into magic.

One winter
my wife and I
built a snowman
of ice and string,
from patches of talk
and often lies.


Art By Sean Farragher


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