By Shelly Norris

Everything known is crusted in white shell,
awash in cold mist and mystery
as if born of a dull arctic light. Brittle
silence drifts amid white steaming air
whispering me aside, prompting me
to consider giving more thought to thinking

about theories, ideas, the invisible
bones of things.
Probably best to avoid promises,
definitive language, projects
which certainly will be interrupted
by the absent sun’s untimely return—

an unwelcome blue schism
of this battleship sky.
Or, if not that, then later, precocious
daffodils or premature tulips plugging
taut buds of false starts through slush
banks into my resolutions.

I’ve no use for thaw and melt.
What good comes of runoff? Ice jams.
Rivers swell. Established creek beds wash out,
and the cycle of waste and want begins again.
One more frenzied season of green-
bladed renewal, as if we could forget
the last passionate reenactment of sacrifice
and resurrection.

I hear that in the water beneath Antarctic ice
pulsing slowly and left to its own, life
grows five times larger; sea spiders
the span of an adult human hand, jellyfish
rotund as oil barrels. Look about:
Snow-ruffed evergreens support oppositional ravens,

contentious magpies and auburn squirrels nest
in antique cottonwoods bearing their nakedness
toward this cold slate ocean of sky melding
into the ice-edged horizon. The solid things
winter here, suspended and inseparable
from the cold white earth.

Categories: Issue 5, Poetry | Leave a comment

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