I remember ages ago
when the ice wind could dry even the ocean
off our backs. It came in at first
in small crests then Avalanched into wooly mammoths.
I licked my lips and held on—frozen
to your mighty fur coat that slowly unraveled
into a hundred tiny tresses of naked hairs.
As I slipped, you reached up to touch
the widow’s peak above my Everest eyelashes
and I let you, afraid to blink for fear that
everything would disappear into a white canvas
of minimalism. It’s contemporary, my dear — what’s in
your heart is like an Alaskan oil mine,
Eldorado that cannot be pursued.
Back then I would always carry a comma
in my pocket and perform incantations
to protect myself from run-ons of
speeding icebergs and sabertooth bobsleds and
that would certainly crash together
before I had a chance to slip away. All the while
you just sprinted after me, laughing
in my drink, you didn’t notice
that my chased white wine was
beginning to blush a crimson vermilion. We dined
beneath the Cambrian explosion the night
you whispered in my ear that
I was your Arctic enchantress. That
was the big secret behind my polar bear smiles.
But the fairy tale began to hang over like icicles
when you wrinkled the sheets between my toes
sprinkled salt on my snow angels, and
I covered the hurt in my eyes as
You just stood by, watching
Frosty’s magic melt between our fingertips
away with the spring.
— Poem and image by Nancy Yu.
First Place Winner in Summer 2008 Science Poetry Contest.