Even the fog this morning plays the field,

the dips in the road, like the special effects


of early cinematography:  faint white ether

in the shape of an actor crouched above


a body of snow, as if the soul were nothing more

than forms of water assuming different roles


—steam, lake, scotch-on-the-rocks—solid

at times, liquid or gas at others, which is


exactly what I am passing through at times,

as if matter didn’t matter, as if the pulsing


thwap . . . thwap . . . thwap in my ears is nothing

more than the sound of ice melting off the roof


and splattering with unconscionable regularity

on the vinyl-clad sill of a replacement window.  


Phillip Sterling is the author of the poetry collection And Then Snow and Mutual Shores, a collection of short fiction, In Which Brief Stories Are Told, and four poetry chapbooks: Significant OthersQuatrains; AbeyanceAnd for All This: Poems from Isle Royale. He has served as Artist-in-Residence for both Isle Royale National park and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.