What I Saw at a Frozen Creek


shallow enough, close to thaw,

the ice beginning to fissure like

latticework bowed: a teensy fish,

tadpole maybe, wiggling in place,

its Labradorite carapace glinting

prismatic an hour before dusk—

striving to be from some untold

laze, petrified midstride through

the numinous murk then starlight,

starbright—twinkle twinktwink

atomic bits of plankton rain knife

the cold to constellate passage

through nights deemed eternal as

something somewhere else draws

breath in hushed realms. Winter

can be so lonely. I steady my gaze

at the amoeban husk dance ecstatic

as sunlit fronds suspended in silt

sound their applause. And for

a moment, I am ready for death.

So much splendor endures. Only

if the rest of us were this elastic.

Su Hwang is a poet, activist, stargazer, and the author of Bodega (Milkweed Editions), which received the 2020 Minnesota Book Award in poetry and was named a finalist for the 2021 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She is a teaching artist with the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop and is the cofounder of Poetry Asylum.

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