For the Director of Music

And again—

There was evening and there was morning: the first day. Cold, killing cold, milk hauled in blocks a foot wide. On the wide circle of the lake, one bony-hipped cow patiently licking at the ice. No birds fly in this killing air. In the lake, beneath that patient, callused, fruitless tongue a face emerges; then another; and a third. One is hungry, one is angry, one is red with blood.

Evening, and endless evening, and morning: the seventh day. A mile deep in the ice, and still going. Column of flesh, frozen hands welded to straining thighs, backs bent beneath the weight. Patient and mindless, the work continues. Ever lower.

Evening and morning: the seven times seventieth day. Ice and more ice. Deep within still bodies, something stirs at the freshening air, something protected, still vital, and caged.

Selah.