That Bitter Night
We could have driven but hiked to the drugstore—
for a lark—on the bitterest night
spring ever whipped up. You held my hand
the whole way. A skin of ice as slick
as Teflon shellacked the streets and sidewalks.
In a coat as heavy and huge as a house,
you led the way as I helped you along.
As for myself, I felt as light
as a snowflake, for our bond seemed strong,
way stronger than this Baltic weather!
Did the old pharmacist assume
we were homeless when our noses were dripping?
The cashier, too, acted toffee-nosed,
seeing us so bundled up.
Elated we’d made it back alive,
we’d cuddled on the couch and laughed
about that bumptious bloke, lulled
by the whimseys of the wind, our shivers
melting away like frost in May.
Now it’s summer. We laugh no longer.
You’re the glaze that glassed the roads,
and I’m the heavy coat you bore
that bitter night you held my hand.
by Martin J. Elster
Editor’s Note: Lovely alliteration and careful imagery carry the reader through this poem’s heartfelt narrative.