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.