by Susan Keiser
In early spring I can almost believe in a frozen lake,
ice locomotives rattling my windows, belching
glacial steam in needles across trackless hardened water;
cold more bitter than persimmon on a
thin-lit, glassy afternoon,
but I know that solid is a lie.
In early spring, late afternoon, arctic winds
blow a fresh glaze over smooth acres of inland sea.
But this is not February.
We are just beyond the shortest month.
The polished lie hardens to evening’s approach,
under softened ledges far below,
fish sense the transition.
But sense or no, I feel we’ve fallen
below freezing; snow, drifting off into the night
on the back of the wind, across hard water.
By morning, my feet have grown trusting again
on a glass floor made solid, buoyant,
a floating granite sea.
In early spring, too late for good sense,
I may read the Almanac or the tea leaves.
I may turn a poor gaze far across a snow swept plain
but I am never to be trusted,
not now, not in this dangerous season and
no, never on thin ice.