by Alice Feeley, RDC
The river needs time to turn to ice.
It starts in the dark; by dawn
water slows down to a silver sheen,
like eyes glazing over when a story goes on
too long. Ripples and waves are smoothed
to paralysis. Thin ice cracks like stiff white frosting.
The river is patched with dull light,
jagged like shards of old mirrors. Then
everything hardens, the landscape is set.
Ice deepens to chunks of white floes,
separate, bumping each other,
crashing unheard near the shore. Days later
the river’s a map of cold islands,
continents floating south to dissolve
in tides of ocean salt. White masses are bound
by flashes, blue and steel gray,
signs of deep currents running free
below this frozen white way. At night
the heavens let loose a storm of snow
that softens the river’s stark uneasiness
but cold remains
and grayness of early morning
is slow to lift and let in light.
Late one afternoon
this jumble brightens with blaze
of peach sunset tinged with mauve,
warm like a chord resolved at last,
warm like a voice that hears
the voice that it loves,
warm like currents unstilled by ice.