Ice Storm, December 2002

Michael James Tino

The ice is gone,
drained into the soils and rivers,
and we sit in the eerie silence it left behind.

Three days (and counting) without power,
layers of clothes only go so far to cut the chill of unheated winter air.
As the sunlight fades, candles surround us with a soft, dim glow—
not enough to read by, so
we huddle, silently, by the fire,
making us more cheerful than warm.

No street lamps pierce the dark outside.
No sounds from neighbors who have long since left
in search of hotels or restaurants or comfort wherever it can be found.
No modern inconveniences, no electronic distractions to keep us otherwise and
ignorantly occupied.
There’s only the two of us, left to sit,
and then to talk.

We share dreams and fears, ideas and confusions.
We argue a bit about politics, even.
We talk of work and school, and all that remains on our various and scattered to-
do lists that lie just outside the circles of candlelight.
We recall highlights from recent trips and
holiday gatherings of family and friends.
We chronicle adventures long since past
and chart those yet to be taken.

Cruel, cold winter has given us a marvelous gift.
A big box of time, tied with a sparkling bow of ice.
Falling trees have snapped our power lines,
but new connections are being made.

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Acknowledgments is made possible in part by generous support from the Fahs Collaborative