"There was no snow in Eden as I remember it" - Jen Hadfield
The roofs of cars
were whales humped
in the snow. Rarely higher
than minus 18;
gas pipes fractured, spouted
methane to the atmosphere.
Melville was the first to go,
Spine cracked back
dealing pages like playing cards.
The words burned on brain tissue
long after I called Ishmael
to keep us warm tonight.
It was Pompeii, but colder
we dug wounds to doorways
that scabbed in minutes,
scar free by morning.
Only Bradbury gave me guilt.
The flat red fireman, surrounded
by flat red flames, devoured
by the bob and weave
of a living death.
The reticulated veins of power lines
contracted and snapped,
through the frozen air.
The first failures,
half devoured hunks of books,
taught me how to part pages
scrunching them into balls of fuel.
The carefully cultivated
layers of mankind peeled back
to this; roof, food, fire.
We discovered the genius of Shakespeare
could keep us warm for a week or more.
The chapbook fellows only flared up
full of heat, but no longevity.
What madness snaps the rigid bars
we crossed into adulthood?
Sent us capering in firelight
charcoaling moments of life
on the living room walls.
Of the modern poets I finally developed a liking
for the authors
who devote a whole page to a haiku.
Men, unlike spiders, are unwilling
to curl up or curse God and die.
The Bible shrank in my sacrilegious hands
pared of obscure prophets and
Distilled down to the purity of ice:
"So do not worry about tomorrow;
for tomorrow will care for itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own."