Annual Thaw

 

That kind of weather:
zip up your jacket
but leave your hat at home.

Ice squeaks under boots now
as water squirms below it, over
broken slabs of sidewalk.

Last night filled my eyes
with blankets, deep in pillows
our muffled heartbeats drummed.

Kids at the bus stop, orange light
glancing harshly over lunchboxes,
the crossing guard’s beard exposed

a half block from my porch: I nod,
he nods back the distance, presses
the crosswalk button to let the college line turn

and take me off to work. Last night
we lay between a body and a cold place,
but today I see only air

and through it, colored things
like signs and trees, and everyone
awake and surprised in the eight o’clock now—

we step single file onto frozen heaps
like Shackletons going anywhere else,
our shirttails tucked and ready.

Published in the June 15, 2018 issue: 
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John Linstrom is series editor of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Library for Cornell University Press. His poems and nonfiction have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Atlanta Review, the New Criterion, the Antioch Review, and elsewhere.

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