When The River Is Forced To Flow

When the river is forced to flow
beneath an icy confusion of ochre slabs,
when a breath cracks
and splits the air, when a sunbeam
transfigures frozen motes
into vast crystal fishnets: slender
columns of flesh chafe raw
from the cold.

The struggle involves
a return to warmth, preservation
of that which remains soft
& yielding, & for now,
time seems to be on our side.

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