Ice Men

By James Longenbach

One cuts blocks
From the abundant river,
Hauls them house to house.

One falls, unseen,
The heart
Inoculated cold

Against a sky still moving.
Moving even now
Above the river,
The canal.
Willows shimmering

Across the water,
Muskrats diving out of reach.
The river whispers
Till it freezes—

A body
Twirling sluggishly
Beneath the surface as again

One stack, then
Spreads the straw.

Another falters,
Slips, or
Puts a sliver on your tongue
To feel it melting there—
The ice-lit

Of someone else.

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