his skin is like leather,
pulled across dreadful bones,
straining to keep them together.
his teeth, like charred wood,
blackened by tobacco,
die underneath a purple mesh of lip.
his eyelids quiver,
flapping underneath crusted snow.
red vein sprouts from his temple,
strangled, struggling to pump blood,
like an arctic bug’s final breath.
wind whistles across his tendons and joints,
breaking like waves on fleshy shores,
threatening to blow him away like ash.
crows chirp and squeal overhead.
his eyes follow them,
desperate, dying creatures,
departed dictators of the icy plain,
just like him.
they are just as desperate.
they need to eat,
just as he does.
the cold terrain tears into him,
like a frozen flame,
making him numb, dizzy, and indifferent.
indifferent to life and death.
indifferent to happiness and sadness.
indifferent to joy and pain.
right hand clutches chest,
left snakes around neck.
indifferent to feeling.
indifferent to any heartbeat.
laying in this snow has made me sterile,
i dream of hot soup and a roaring fire.
a cabin lit with golden oil lamps.
and my mother.
my sweet mother, holding me, nurturing me.
with the help of the souls above,
his body is elevated to become a meal,
life support for the birds’ heartbeats.