Ice Fishing



Steel teeth
ripping through
steel ice
feet thick
he watches one bead
of sweat land on
the wounded circle
he is carving
and melt.

The circle gives way.

He pushes one side of the 
frozen disk
dips his mittened hand
into the syrupy ice water
lifts the disk
drops the hook
and waits.

He builds a fire
of orphaned branches
abandoned
they rejoice 
in their immolation.

Hard sun sinks
fire burns
icy lake
holding the flames
that warm him.

He wakes to hot embers
and a half fish
half woman
sitting on the edge of 
his hole
contemplating the hook
in her hand.

Her hair is fiery red.
Her skin is soap white.
Her scales glitter
in the smoldering glow.

She looks:
the hook
the embers
him.

The fire roars, miraculous.
He opens his great coat wide
she slithers inside
they lie by the flames
and are consumed.

Warm morning sunlight
and they wake together on the shore
wet.

Above only clouds
evidence of ice 
that once was
made vapor in the night
by the white heat
of their fire. 

She peels the coat away
stands like a colt
on brand new legs
and lifts him.

Their eyes meet
and holding each other steady
they turn to look at the forest 
beyond the shore
naked.