Copyright © 2001 Bob Dornberg

King Cold

The cold breaks hundred-year pipe over its snow
     -capped knees.
It spits back the sip of lye poured down the
     frozen drain.
It tears up miles of duct tape as if they were rails.
With the bell cheeks of the north wind,
It presses on sheets of window seal.
It peers inside for small children,
For the sick and the old.
It knows where the bottom is and how deep the
     world dives.
Where prey ceases to struggle, is where the cold
     takes us through our thin leather soles
Feathering the puppet show of brake pedals and foot-feeds
That leave our beached sea turtle wakes from tires
     spinning in the snow.
Wherever it finds our fires and smells our smoke,
The cold ices over the river of work and days
     and draws the flames up kicking through the flue.

James Reidel
Copyright © 2001

James Reidel is currently translating selected poems by Franz Werfel. His biography of Weldon Kees is under academic review at the University of Nebraska Press. From time to time, he publishes his own poems, which have appeared not only in Disquieting Muses, but in other online journals such as Absinthe and Cortland Review,. His poems have also appeared in the pre-Tina Browne New Yorker, TriQuarterly, Conjunctions, The Paris Review, Ironwood, Verse, and other magazines. He is spending this August at Surf City, New Jersey, which has a water tower. It appears early in the Wim Wenders film Alice in the Cities.

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