Ice Age

Birch bark is to
                          tinder as virgin
                                                    is to splendor.
             Our animal selves,
             our orange cat,
                          your silvering chin
                          pressing through my tinsel
                                                                 -thin winter cheek
                                                                 like a cranberry garland orb:
you, shearing
this month’s bristles:
me, tallying your skin’s pits
& wrinkles
‘til they might as well
equal mine and
             —stop. You    can’t      giftwrap
             what’s germinating
                                          have always chinked
                                          atomic armor:       age
                                          has never clocked in
                                          in equal opportunity.
Just think of us as cyborgs,
imagine the lines for replacement
             parts and the cost of labor
                                          set at every
                                          account’s rupture.
Reams of spruce needles
             for the season of dying:
                                                    the festival of light
                                                    bulbs incandescent
                                                                                             asway in drops of frost.

Rachel Edelman grew up in Memphis, graduated from Amherst College in Massachusetts, and taught environmental education in Maine and Colorado before settling, for now, in Seattle. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Fairy Tale Review, Day One, The Pinch, Southern Humanities Review, Typo, and other journals. She is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Washington, where she teaches creative writing.