When Islands Hover

We’ve had a rare spell of cold. Leonard is happier than I’ve ever seen him, nose in the wind, picking up the scent of a hare. We see the tracks, but Leonard knows they’re old and he’s not tempted off the trail. I’m relieved because they lead out to where the snow is as smooth as the ice it covers. A few weeks ago a man died trying to pull his dog from the frozen lake. I reel in the hunting lead and try to push it all out of my mind.

But the tracks are huge. I imagine a giant hare pounding over the snow-covered moor. A hare the size of a goat, or a calf. How did the ice hold?

But the mundane fact is that the snow has been accommodating the paw impressions for days. Maybe it’s not that mundane, really, if I don’t settle with the scientific explanation. It’s true, yes, but it’s also true that the hare’s passing lingers and moves the world, like a ghost, like a memory made real.

Memories made real. Recorded. Extrapolated in snow and dirt and sunken moorland.

Maybe we’re being watched.

Yesterday we ran along the beach. The polished stones each sheltering a patch of snow. The tide pools frozen, ostensibly lifeless. E. pointed to the lighthouse on the island in the distance. The ship nearby. Both appearing to hover over the ocean.

The cold wedges itself into our reality. Pulls the pieces apart.

The cold is a serpent that creeps over the earth, that pulls it from itself. Islands float on air, we float from one another, shivering. Closing our doors. Shuttering the windows.

E. explains how the cold settles in the hollows. How it clings to the ground and creeps. You can dig a hole to trap the cold outside your threshold. Like you might any other animal bound by gravity.

I can hear the cold
its infrasonic growling
filling the basement
rumbling in dark corners, like
the dog who wants to pile-on

There’s no need to
appropriate magic.
Notice, and believe
in the world as much as you
believe in flesh and blood.

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