This Is the Hour of Ice

 

by Simone Muench

 

 

Undress me in sleet & shadow. Winter me,

frisk me. Frisk me later. Frisk me again

as whiteness funnels in.

 

You open your mouth & all the forest listens.

Split isn’t easy to absorb—

part darkness, part January light

 

unraveling, fox fast, above

the grey tree line. & sutures

my body’s locked in loss.

 

In the clearing of the woods,

snow erases all prints. Don’t let me

be right. Don’t let me mistake

 

a deer’s skull for your frost-glazed face.

Stretched before me like danger signs

are wolves in their auburn-tinged regalia

 

tracing & untracing the blizzard bright path,

their howls of simulated warmth. A rabbit

caught on the claws of an owl puts an end

 

to the circling, as the triumphant beak

screeches like rusted snow chains

freeze-freeze-freeze. No one’s coming for you.