Self-Portrait with Black Ice 

     Caroline Murphy

 

it’s January again and I’m still
picking pieces of you out of my hair  
like shattered glass after a car crash. 

 

the cold convinces me your voice
won’t turn to ice the minute
it hears I’m back in town. 

 

the town I never really left says
I learned how to thaw but not
how to keep from freezing. 

 

the thing about winter is it never
pretends to be warm, by which I mean
the only truly honest place

 

I’ve ever known is buried
under twenty inches every year
and refuses to be dug out. 

 

I like to imagine you roaming the streets
naming avenues and boulevards 
after your own daydreams

 

instead of my imagined nightmares.
you’re at home here, which is all
I ever really needed. someday

 

I’ll get on a plane, and someday
you won’t be there when I arrive. 
winter will come each year as promised

 

and I’ll walk the streets alone
having no idea what you call them now. 

Caroline Murphy graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington in 2015 and spent the last four years teaching English in western Bulgaria. She currently lives and writes in Saint Paul, Minnesota.