All my senses are sucker-punched by the cold
as a pinhole sunrise bleeds a muted horizon
onto the street. I’m vainly trying to praise the notion
of the bursting heart and start the frozen car.
We wait outside for the engine block to warm
because our seats are as unbearable and solid
as cured concrete. The car exhaust smells of celery
and maple syrup. My words have been billowing
into corkscrews of fog that catch unacknowledged
in the skeletal canopy of leafless branches. The wind
clamors like an orchestra, playing for its audience
the more orderly mathematics of hoar frost
and scattering my voice like whips of snow
that snake across the half-plowed pavement.
Every breath of cold air viciously plays our lungs
like accordions. The crisp edge of single digits
bulldozes through us. Even if I could hush
the wind and stop its cold fingers from pulling us
apart, we’d still fall into silence watching the violet
sky pink itself with new light. We’d still scrape
our boots against frost-locked rock salt. The array
of our footprints, never quite overlapping, would still spell
out what we aren’t saying to each other. What our lips
always fumble in these smudged and lonely hours.
about the writer
Dane Hamann works as an editor for a textbook publisher in the southwest suburbs of Chicago. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University, where he also serves as the poetry editor of TriQuarterly. His work has recently been published in Calamus Journal, Half Mystic, Wildness, and Water~Stone Review, among other places. He can be found at www.danehamann.com.