On Edge

Outside is cold.

It’s true what they say, about the wind going through you, up here.

But it doesn’t go clean through. This wind’s kind of like a rusty razor

dragging over the edges. It cuts you down to size, tugs at your lapels,

blows away your boutonniere and other words we have for pretty things.

A ragged t-shirt mounts a half-hearted defense and gets blown to hell.

Old leather boots and unwashed jeans won’t stop toes from freezing, even if they look cool.

Even kings are knocked down from their highness, by nothing but a breeze;

gods are laid low, and the cynics snort with a sort of hopeless triumph:

Look, look how the mighty have fallen; why,

we’re nothing but animals at the end of the day.

But wait a second, because the day’s not over yet.

I can’t feel my toes, and my nose is running and my ears are red. My eyes

are tearing up—I

can see old death just over the bleary blue horizon, but snow hangs there too,

like an empty blank canvas that doesn’t need to be filled.

Frost traceries on the window are winter’s imitation of living spiders’ webs,

or did the spiders mimic winter? Not that it matters;

the mirrors are everywhere, in the puddles on the ground that froze overnight

and show me, if I look, how the world really is—who knew dirty water could be so beautiful?

I did. But it took the merciful frigid nip at my heels saying wake up, wake up.

I see birds that haven’t fled just yet, who stuck around to see the first snow,

to see the show; crows sitting on the side of the road,

laughing as cars rush past.

I see you; you, such a very important person, chasing your tail with a smile on your face,

melting the air with your foggy breath.

You could save me from the cold, I know.

But death will wait; I’ll stay out here as long as I can.

Here in the dead-pan sky, a little lonely. A little longer.


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