falling

skating in circles

skin smooth as ice

we held rough chapped hands

winter so ornery

sapped color from the hillside, but

placed roses in our cheeks

we giggled,

and the air grew colder

breath in small clouds by our faces

I'm afraid I'll freeze you

we thought vaguely of snow angels, but

the ice is so enticing,

the snow so pristine

and we didn't believe in them anyway

so we skated 'round in circles

'til the sun died and phoenix

reborn in splendor singed the edges

mountaintops aflame

his plumage spanned across the sky

or perhaps it wasn't he

perhaps the angels were real,

and they had tired of coloring in the rainbows,

so they dove down to the deep caverns,

let Beelzebub's breath melt their crayons

and splashed the hot wax across the clouds

yes

yes, that must have been what happened

and it wasn't blood, but red liquidy crayola

spattered on the ice

so warm still, the patch melted

you slipped....

but I'm too cold

too numb

to think that.

the phoenix has long since flown

feathers unfurled

along the crests of the Urals back to Syria

to live and die and be reborn

the wax has hardened

living fire faded to ash

smoke floating listlessly

blend in with my breath

we were both cold, but I really didn't realize

how warm you really were

and I miss that small comfort

feet frozen, I totter

to gaze upon your grave

and the water beckons

somewhere in my mind, perhaps

along a broken synapse, neurons dying

they tell me that I see you

though it's just a dead fish

and then they tell me that I'll find you

if I just look hard enough

try hard enough

pray hard enough to the right god

and it's all too much

and I'm too cold

and my face is ever closer to the ripples

breathy bubbles on the surface

the slight tang of long-traveled salt enters my mouth,

nose

vision slightly clouded

the cold bites me back and I'm paralyzed

fall like a doll

straight to the bottom of the murky Styx....