Every valley shall be filled, and every
mountain and hill shall be brought low.
In the middle of its long white sleep,
our world begins to thaw. Streets flood.
The ice around the house goes to water
which finds its own level
in my basement lodging. I lug
wet rugs up stairs that lead
to the world of air, up and down
the steps I go, dragging sodden things
to light. Tonight on the news they show
ice floes moving like dreamships
up the Clark Fork, silent and serene,
knocking out bridges, destroying homes
along the verge. A boy
from the university, track star goofing
with his girl at river’s edge, slips he
falls in and she watches him carried away
in silence, arms outstretched like wings, not
a word or sound or sign of struggle:
Neither could I move or scream, the cold
was everything, it owned us, only our eyes
were free once the rapids had him
and we locked gazes then, as if seeing
could save us, as if it were believing.
In days our world has turned to ice again
and the search for the boy is called off.
Everything hardens. At night underground
I imagine him nearby somewhere, long limbs
caught quickfrozen in a runner’s pose,
fingers reaching, hard as marble–I am
poured out, O Lord, poured
out like water–all night I dream him
in that posture of longing, held
and stilled beneath the motion
and the industry, the unimaginable
weight of our living world.