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ISSUE:  Summer 1997
On top of the ice planet and through a window
we look out at figures on sticks in the snow—
colorful hotdoggers headed downhill in a hurry.
Hurry! A tourbus of the world is about to depart.

We sip what’s warm in our cups. The display
is crowded, confused. For how many thousand years
have they wrapped themselves like this, like mummies,
and stood at the summit, counted 3,2,1, over and out.

Centuries slip like mantles of snow off neighboring
mountains, but down the adventurers go, calling past
every worry—Oh what’s a little thunder—and so off
the lit perimeters of our moon-gilded globe.

Our magisterial hands: huge in their regal shadows
which raise darkness to our lips. If only so much watching
had not left us at this precipice of exhaustion,
we might go to the cupboard for a black dropcloth

to drape the whole scene. Or if the scene itself were not,
in its gentle chaos and of its own accord, so lovely,
we might suffer our hands to lift it and shake it, but only
a little, just enough to start the big flakes falling.


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