Years later, driving down Hwy 741,
fields of white, thickets of fog, my car
a mumbled prayer in the gauze, a sleigh,
black and Amish, lefts onto the road,
its horse harnessed and thudding on,
its hooves muffled against the snow.
A man staring forward holds the reins
steady, steady. I gear down, the engine
whines, sputters, a fan of light trailing.
Like this, it was like this, like Antarctica,
those nights McCracken and I knelt
on the dirt floor of the dugout, leaned
our heads back, eyes twitching and gone,
as we popped nitrous canisters into
the communion shapes of our mouths,
slipped far inside, internal landscape,
where everything seemed to be falling
snow, ice, the time we split chasing flies
through a darkened Knight’s Park,
our bodies sprawling in Sycamore bark,
for a few seconds in Antarctica. How clean
that abyss we drifted in, like dew, more
like pollen settling on our skins; and,
beneath, a want for touch, a kiss, a return.
Those friends are gone: some dead,
some dying, locked up or canned
in themselves. We wanted only to quiet
our bodies and followed a vague pull
inward, some thin furrows, some tracks
gliding like grace over the snow.