Frost at high altitudes reaps snow stuck so tight flakes look like bones,
or like pilgrims stooped in worship, when their chins grind
their sternums and their eyes humor only sporadic peeks skyward.
Penitentes get their name here, from the converts who, inconsolable,
buckle from their feet. The jagged promise made by crowding
glacial blades might likewise move you to your knees.
Spires under a night sky, glinting like the stars that stake their claim in
darkness, still won’t melt when licked by sun if they’re high enough. Elderly
icicles, reversed in their rising, stand fifty feet tall on a satellite of Jupiter.
These frigid mountain vanes are a just a few hundred million miles
away. They live close too: in me and you, sensitive to temperature,
frozen in numb rupture.