After walking three miles,

abandoned to the cold

in my thin clothes, 

having seen neighbor 

help neighbor shovel 

gravel beneath wheels,

after holding a stranger’s hand

as we slid across the ice 

to make it past other strangers’ cars

which had themselves slid helplessly together,

blocking the way and making laughable 

any hope for a tow,  

our nomadic numbers grew — 

we plodded through the slanted veil

in a single line down Burnside,

beneath the quiet fir trees caked in white, 

where we found no taxis or Ubers or Lyfts

no buses waiting at bus stops, 

not even a burning streetlamp,

and so we walked on, dispersing in all directions

into the quiet, frozen darkness, until finally 

I made it to my own front door, 

where you were waiting on our stoop,

and wiped the little mounds of snow

from my shoulders and quivering head, 

stripped me naked in our hallway, 

and lowered me shivering

into the hot bath you had drawn — 

a bottle of Cabernet there to sip 

behind the steamed windows

obscured by frost, 

candles throwing playful shadows on the walls,

all warmth that I took greedily into myself

until my glass was empty, 

the water cooled, 

and the snow stopped falling.


 — AE Hines

Originally published in Windfall: A Journal of Poetry of Place, Spring 2017 issue.  


© 2017 by AE Hines.  All Rights Reserved.  

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