by Rachael Mead

...after Kevin Powers

The cold is trying to kill us.
With every crystalline exhalation
it grinds against your skin
trying to warm itself with your heart.

The cold is trying to kill us.
It is not personal, yet exceptionally so.
It is not about territory or hatred.
It simply desires our obliteration
with every subconscious instinct.
It is an apex predator and we,
in our lurid polypropylene hides
blubbered with goose-down Gore-Tex
are its prey.

The cold is patient
waiting in dreams and on waking.
Even in the sun we are constantly in its shade.
The cold is careless, knowing no limits,
lurking behind every door we want to open.
It squeezes us into poorer beings
yet makes us heroic.

Reaching out, the cold holds your hands,
cups your face, curls around you
like a sleeping lover.
It knows the distance
between nerve endings
and takes the shortcut.
The cold cracks our skin, weathering us like summer.
We burn and crinkle in the absence of heat
but the cold is without blemish.
It is perfect and it is trying to kill us.

The cold tells you that you are nothing
and that this is not a secret.
The cold opens your eyes, focuses you,
hones your edges ice-sharp.
This is not incidental. It is trying to kill you.

The cold begins again: it never ended.
It wants us to crumple under its clear weight.
The cold does not acknowledge alternatives.
It is an argument that you will never win.
The cold collapses in upon itself,
it is dense and radiant with absence.
It is timeless. It is full of time.
And it is absolutely trying to kill us.

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