Jul/Aug 2020  •   Poetry


by Alan Humm


I'm thinking about the frailty of things.
Of otherness:
the carpark (dark, still, in the middle
of the day) lit like a theatre:
the bruised backdrop and the lights
weirdly intent, picking out
snow, its stubbornness,
and how the metal
turns to ice.

The crackle of reindeer fur;
its electricity.
We walked across a pond,
the opposite of a miracle:
the mystery of water
become solid; adamantine.
Duck's feet, arrows on the snow,
mirrored a child's game
that we didn't know.

Our guide's R had a swagger.
Out in the countryside,
we felt how air insisted on itself;
how the world can be shredded sideways,
become a great and furious giddiness.
Under the glacier, one chapel
echoed while the other
seemed to gather
every word into itself.
Anti-sonorous, austerely serious,
it was determined
to refute the world outside;
you, yes, but more:
all of its signs—the feral, furious snow
and warring winds.