Everything’s frozen, and breaks on contact.
Everyone’s staying close to the tracks, not leaning back on the fence.
I eat chocolate for energy but can’t taste it.
In this cold everything goes missing.
Near the bridge the steeple is shedding light,
great flakes of it, sloughing into the boughs of surrounding fir.
We’re all waiting, stamping our little feet,
printing the map of our waiting into the snow.
There’s a sliver of light above the clouds’ folds
the moon has hacked into the darkening sky.
It used to be thought the liver was the seat of our passions.
If so, there’s a crescent-shaped scar in mine
where the moon hacked its way through my body
to open a frozen river.
The train arrives first as broken light—
utterly, utterly silent—
across the trestle bridge, flashing—
then as a screech and roar we press toward,
our hundred exhalations willing open the doors.
Susan Gillis is a poet, teacher, and member of the poetry collective Yoko’s Dogs. Her most recent book is The Rapids (Brick, 2012).