By David Gullette

Featured Image: “Proposed Broadway Underground Railway” by Unknown Artist

The first of February 1855
Thoreau skates up the river:
it swells beneath its crust
making a musical cracking,
running like chain lightning of sound
athwart my course.

The rising of the mass
lifts the ice in one place
but drops it in another
the low patch filling with water
to form quite a lake there where he has passed
and he imagines

another skater two hours later
his successor who with wonder and alarm
will see Henry’s twin tracks
disappear in one side of it
and come out the other.

Sometimes I glide across

the brittle glaze of sleep
and am above and in and beneath
the dark currents
and wonder at dawn how did I drown
only to glance back and see my tracks
coming up and out and going on.

David Gullette recently helped celebrate the 40th anniversary of Ploughshares, of which he was a founding editor. His most recent book is a novel, Dreaming Nicaragua from www.fenwaypress.com, a new publishing house dedicated to “Fair Trade for Authors.”

Originally appeared in NOR 11.

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