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Impossible Ice

What I meant to say about the cold
concerned the coziness of watching storms pass,
us safe inside, on the other side of the glass.
Instead, all I see are those tired faces on the news,
shelters full of people stripped of everything but
old clothes and the need to get out of the wind.
All comfortable words fail.

Like that day, visiting a city far from home,
when you first saw someone homeless—
A wild-eyed man, muttering to himself
as he dug through garbage cans.
Ten years old and shocked, you wanted to help,
to give him the warm, half-eaten pretzel in your hand,
and then wanted me —impossible—
To explain why I said no.

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