“Slow, Cold Heart” by Christopher Raley

We were desperate to get out of the apartment,
even that late in the day.
Storms roved east,
disillusioned gold miners headed back into the desert,
and we rode under as far as the mountains
until the pines were thick
and the rain fell faucets
between gapping lace work of needles.

Gray light deepened.
Darkness crept down the ridges,
grew in soft spaces amid the trees
and covered the swollen creek its mad rushing-
and the pool.
The mist of the water fall
raised its slow, cold heart to the rain.

We walked the paths along the creek
and rain ran down our hooded coats.
Cold undeniable forced us in.
Squares of light opened out into the night
and the fire touched our faces and our clothes-
those that we finally shed to the floor
to feel the waver of heat set free on skin.
Did we finally know
what we had been waiting to know all our lives?
And now? When I shiver?


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