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[The man stood in the frost.]


The man stood in the frost.
Without an end of it in sight.
All the other yards were summer yards.
He stood deep in the tundra.
His daughter brought him refreshment.
Daddy, drink your lemonade.
But his tongue froze to the glass.
His breath was too cold to melt
the yellow block of ice.
Go inside he wanted to yell at her—
he didn't want her to freeze and mostly
didn't want her company—
but she was wearing only a light shift
he could see through and no shoes
and was absorbed in cartwheels
and chasing her dog and its ball.
Her skin dark as amber tea, his was blue.
His fingers cracked and bloody. His nails
brittle, his breath about to shatter.
The man stood on the crackling frost. Many hours
he could stand there, the sun shining warm
on everyone and thing but him.


Martha Rhodes

The Thin Wall
University of Pittsburgh Press


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