I hear the heavy fall of your foot on the snow,
crunching and crisp in the yard down below.
I throw open the window, lean out, and blow you a kiss,
the snowball you throw in return, a near miss.
Laughing, I meet you in the doorway downstairs,
brushing icicles from whiskers and snow from your hair.
Still huffing and stomping the snow from your boots,
you’re back from following your winter pursuits
out on the slopes and up on Suicide Hill
skiing and sledding with children, alive to the thrill
of flying down icy inclines on cardboard, just missing trees,
windburn like gravel, cheeks ruddy and raw, you freeze.

Now frosty and frigid, sniffling and cold to my touch,
I unwrap and reveal you, layer by layer, bundled, so much
like the Mummy, a treasure precious and finally found,
now naked and natural, shivering and solid, Hercules unbound.
I rub and rewrap you in soft blankets, toasty and warm
and lead you to the sofa to sit by the fire, a glacial form
now thawing and melting, tiny rivulets and streams
coursing and streaming on flagstone, the man of my dreams,
returned from the tundra so heartless and cold,
to the igloo, to hearth and heart, where I hold
hot chocolate, frothy, aromatic, and rich, to your lips,
soothing the chapped leather of your skin with my fingertips.

I stroke and you sip as we linger, watching flames tasting wood.
Then you fold and envelop me, sharing your woolen hood
of warmth and protection, skin touching cloth.
A Venus rising from water, a cocoon left by a moth,
shedding textiles on tile, I join you naked and newborn
in your blanket, two sheep shivering and shorn
of material walls, of things that don’t matter,
but still keep us apart, our body heat mingles and lathers.
Naked and natural, tides crashing ancient and wild,
primal and potent, ocean upon earth, reconciled
to flowers on ice floes, a lost pagan art,
your skin on my skin, your heart on my heart.

— Elaine Pedersen ©


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