Our Year

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.


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