Nothing but flowers
I have never been so cold
nor has Chicago.
For weeks the wind has blown off the lake
turning the sub-zero temperatures
into two-digit numbers
too high to count on my stone cold fingers.
Cold that thickens as the night swallows
the short sunlit days.
The buses have stopped running
so I walk the two miles home after teaching
my English class to a handful
of immigrants who don’t even know
the words for this kind of cold.
I teach them scarf, mittens, hat.
I give them my extras. We cross our arms
in front of our chests and say brrrrr.
I go see David Byrne’s Stop Making Sense
in a movie theater as cold as the world is
outside. I stand in the dark theater
dancing, my feet feel miles away, or maybe
that is what they are wishing to be, somewhere
else, like your single bed, our bodies’ heat, as little
of it as we have, trying to save each other.
I am not your beautiful wife, this is not your
beautiful house, but still
we dream of nothing but flowers.
Editor’s Note: The careful enjambment of this poem focuses the attention on key words, making the emotional rush of the latter part of the poem all the more intense.