How many today? Fewer
that is a good sign
but don’t get overly excited,
we’ve been down this road
before and we got lost
each time we did.
And while you are out there,
don’t be sure that you
can see where you are going,
for vision is iffy, and like
side view mirrors, things
appear closer than they are.
Don’t be despondent, you
are better off than many,
but better is a comparative
and that can turn to sheer
ice when you least expect it.
So go on, but go carefully,
your next fall might,
just might, kill you.
Ice, he said, is clearly an invention
of Satan, the ice cube a scaled down
version of that corner of hell of which
no one ever speaks, so little known.
And stop and think, we got by well
for eons without a cube of ice, unless
with blade we chipped it from
a nearby glacier or left water out
in the dead of winter, which never
worked all that well in much of the world.
Whiskey, that was one of our best
innovations, one of which we are
rightfully proud, one which we
have practiced for untold generations.
We’ve been sipping it and drinking it
from the word go, and each culture
has come up with its own version,
and it is only recently that the devil
gave us the means of denigrating
one of God’s greatest gifts to us.
God, mother told us, prefers things
neat, as they were intended, so clearly
ice is the Devil’s work. Turn away!
The temperature falls, slowly at first
but gaining speed, as though
in the grip of winter’s gravity.
Winter has the potential to be
a black hole season into which
we enter and imagine we
will never reemerge into spring.
The wind whispers stories to us
of a time when this was all ice
when no one complained of a chill
for there was no one.
We turn up our collars to remind
the wind that we will remain here,
for nature has given us
an equal dose of stubbornness.
Walking on ice is easy, although
you must be careful not to slip
for the fall can be damaging, but
walking on water is impossible
unless you are not you, and he
has returned in your body
which we all find highly unlikely,
although the difference between
you is a simple state of matter.
The question, then, is do you
see any real difference
between the two of you
and if not, he may well smile
as you together disappear
into a thick cloud of steam.