The Blizzard

You'll never take off your blue cashmere
for me, your jade belt, or even your white
walking shoes that squeak like a nurse's.
Who are you with now, taking his pulse?
Why am I just well enough not to warrant
your care? Those snow-white stockings
will never drift on my floor like waterlilies.
I will row the boat of my sleek, narrow bed
to the center of the lake and bask in the sun,
opening my basket of strawberries, a buttery
cheese, and a musky bottle of Spanish wine,
and very gently, carefully get drunk alone.

 

I've had the sun's pleasures, but you are the snow
I've never known. I can only imagine the falling
crystals on my tongue, each one the moist word
of a poem in a language I barely know, fleurs,
chaleurs, douleurs ... the blizzard of your body.
I think of Ötzi, the Ice Man, 5,000 years ago
in the southern Alps, herding his sheep home.
He was prepared for anything: a quiver of cherry
and dogwood arrows, a longbow of yew, an ax
of burnished copper, mushrooms and einkorn
in a leather pouch, stripes and a cross of blue-
black soot tattooed on his ankles and back.
When the snow came, he didn't have a chance.

An unusually warm summer, tourists on a picnic,
salami and orange soda in their packs. They saw
the back of his skull jut from the thawing snow
and made a call from their cell phone, talking
excitedly in a language that meant nothing
to Ötzi: strange vowels, inhuman consonants.
I think if you gave yourself to me for just one
afternoon, sunlight lapping at the lace curtains,
I would be lost in a livid white storm within four
howling walls. My extremities would start to go
numb, sensation shrink to an azure flame, my lips
just starting to form the first words of your language.

Presented by

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Entertainment

Just In