One of our watches was wrong,
Changed by the weather’s ferocious gnaw
At the metal we trusted.
Did we forget to wind them
And lose track of our last days,
Count too many hours?
I can’t remember the blizzard,
Only the cold that embraced me,
That became wedded to me
Without ceremony or consummation
Until the very end when I flung it
Across the face of my sleeping companions.
Did we count the days?
I don’t know. Writing became a chore
To complete for posterity,
Something for them to remember us by,
To make us immortal.
Why didn’t we reach out for those last miles?
Why die half awake half asleep?
Would our frozen feet not have carried
Us just a little further, just that last
Step from death to disability?
We might have talked about it,
Might have readied ourselves, even,
But always fell back, just short
Of daring to confront that fear of
Getting lost, dragged into circles
By our useless feet and dying in the open alone,
Robbed of a last permanent place
I remember nothing, not even
The colour of my snow-ridden dreams,
Nor the shape of the tent,
Nor the final rattle of breath
Through each frozen throat.