by Charles Douthat
Still, there is hope this fading year
that next year will be our year
for a winter hike to the island quarry.
After the holidays, I'd propose.
In January, when dormant hardwoods
clatter in the wind and only a stray spruce
or cardinal lives for color. At such times
the quarry sleeps ice-locked
beneath sifting skins of snow. If it's safe
and thick enough, I'll take you out
across the ice to that spot
we swam those summers ago.
We'll walk again on water, solid now
beneath our feet. And I'll scrape clean
a snow-window for staring down
the frozen mirror of the deep.
Maybe only sealed off fissures.
Or rising bubbles captured in blue.
At least we'll see two bundled faces
looking back. And even so close to longest
night, surely some remnant sun will flash
above the trees and find us there—
parchment-lit, in the open—and stir us
in a winter way we've never known.
Then let the sun flash on across our quarry.
Love, let it glitter in the quarry stone.