It was never farther below zero on this date.
While meteorologists are perversely pleased,
among constellations Zero means Absolute.
I will not go outdoors under Orion tonight.
Our garage door is frozen shut: the motor
struggles to free it, then turns off, its light
blinking failure. A distracted furnace runs
and runs, swallowing its oil like an addict.
Layering garments, we entertain ourselves
with fantasies of warmth lingering in bed
after one’s sweetheart arises…of mysterious
warm spots we swam into, at a glacial lake.
We both recall Jack’s daughters embracing
his body as he lay still after the long cancer,
grey skin impervious to their clammy arms.
Girls shivered, hugging the nonconductor.
We thumb a calendar’s pages to make sure
of April, May, June. Yes—there they are.
Relieved, we inventory drawers of shorts
and T-shirts, and remember being young.
Seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee Russell Rowland writes from New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, where he has judged high-school Poetry Out Loud competitions. His work appears in Encircle Publication’s Except for Love: New England Poets Inspired by Donald Hall. A full-length collection, Were All Home Now, is available from Beech River Books.