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A Glacial Breath

by Knute Skinner

One night while he lay empty,
nothing in his face,
a glacial breath, unmeasured,
filled the waiting space.

Frost was on the planets
and underneath his feet.
No image of the universe
held one degree of heat.

As superficial luster
smeared the earth with gloss,
tears stuck icy to his eyes
as he beheld the loss,

and Christ Himself stood freezing
fast to a freezing cross.

Morning woke him early
with showers upon the pane.
He listened to the spatter
of warm summer rain.

Sunburst followed cloudburst;
colour streaked the sky;
a dozen birds held converse
in artless melody.

But on the bed he stiffened,
too fixed to turn or toss.
Each image of the universe
was dross, dross, dross,

And Christ Himself hung frozen
hard on the frozen cross.


Taken from ‘Nothing is Ever What it Seems’ (1994), pages 81-82.

Knute Skinner

Morning Song