One winter is enough,
how quickly you’ve come to its end:
time passing under the tranquilized lake, the fitful halls of the dead
where your name is spoken as a winter of fear unspools, winter of
snow not so white,
this half dark now preceding the approach or wane of ice—
of all the bodies—
to put at the bottom of the lake you chose your own.
You try to outsleep it—the water he brought you to,
the embrace of the dead,
their chemical chill, their moons of filtered light,
your own frost blackened hands
but all you’ve thought is loss, the unstoppable darkness on darkness
of the water approaching on all sides.
Can you hear me—
the hour of headlights, black ice, police lights—
can’t stop the end that tells the truth about the beginning.
You aspired to a raw sky of silk, the brightness
of his body—a thaumatrope.
One side was the carrousel, one side was the horse
You sung his name aloud in the wheel’s turn,
in the dreamland before the blood inhale of water.
The way was clear
as you’ll never be again.
You are sleeping.
Forget that day.
It’s just the effects of cold water are paralyzing.
The future goes darker
on the other side of ice, door, shadow, the bark of loons.
Rise to what you are drawn— the dead cannot yet claim you.
Here is this white room, let your heart beat, put your hair up,
here is this white monitor of memory—
Is it over?
Tonight, it’s the lake talking
in the voice of the pine knot snap of bone:
“Freeze to death or—“
leave this story with a fear of dark water.
Here is some water.
Drown like a hard shove down a staircase—it means rising—
it means another girl at the bottom of a lake
it means following,
the cold’s departure as it leads
down the luminescent hallway
of some dead to be walked through.
Dream of hands to unlace you. Could you wake—
What was the question?
Tonight, the carrousel in the park,
turning by itself,
tuning the wind to voice,
the horses back—
horses always return to their fallen.
You are not sure you can live without
this bad dream tangle of bed sheets. You want to know
it is possible to love someone without wanting
to put your hand between the vale of their shoulders
He is always—
missing now when you speak his name to the empty,
Talk to the dead:
“Today was a very good day,
it’s a good life
it feels and
come now, radiant, come—“
like nostalgia as a bruise rings its way toward vanishing or becomes
his blue coat, across a parking lot—the last time you saw
the weir lights of January—
he was alone, was beautiful.
The ending is a clock in the water.
he is the living person on the other side,
open up my hands,
they tremble the season toward waste,
You don’t want this anymore
than he does.
You can’t be promised no pain.
You can’t be promised that you will never again
claw the underside of ice—
drag your own body from the water by the wrist.
cry your own name across the water’s blackened surface.
Walk the moonlit path over the unwalkable water.
Here the horses come in the dim, their footfalls distant,
moving faster, faster— here you go breathing,
reach for their echoing soundlessness.
Press your ear to the earth, the lips of its mouth, and
here’s a little life back— now
can you live it.