the ink from the coroner's office had hardly gone from the paper when
the wind cut across his face, whisking through the stubble in icy eddies
that sent a soaring deadening through the slack skin of his cheeks. at
his feet lay the crumpled remains of snow, battered into compactness and
then to dust through many cycles, now browned with dirt and smear in
frothy blackness by grease.
behind him the gatling roar of an engine starting up spouted wet flat
echoing noises into the expansive harbor of the alley. black oil smoke
thick with the smell of rubber oxidized on the forgotten routine of too many
midnight beer hauls. the snow on the cap of the exhaust pipe melted and slid
into the soft light newfallen snow of the pavement, leaving a small dark patch,
looking like dead clotted blood.
the insides of his nostrils grew their warm pain, like the color of
light shined through eyelids or blood in the mouth. the cold isolates the
flesh and holds it against its antithesis. it warms to the challenge and
places everything into a clarity of awareness which lights memories with
its depth of vision. against an encompassing suspension of whiteness over
the world, obliterating the horizon in miles of impassibility, the city
stood abstractly stark and hypothetical. the water stretched along the
street in spreading puddles turning white with ice as if infected. the
dark towers of brick grey or brown. windows with greyed boards rotting in
them. black tar melting down the side of a red brick tower. a few giants
grown uninteresting when their architectural period passed drew long shadows
across grass clumped parking lots, their red on white signs fading in the
breeze, dirt collecting thick on the stickered numbers pasting up charges.
fuck you grown grey in chalk under a bench.
the cold washed over his deadening cheek like a steel scrape. the
power lines hung immobile in the wind.