Arctic explorers come to my door.
Their eyes are desperate medicine vials filled with bitter latitudinal madness,
And their breath freezes in the air and falls
Like shattered tea cups
From the hand of a once-genteel madwoman.
I invite them in,
But they only stand there.
I may as well offer my hospitality to weird lights from out of the sky,
Or something stupid and made-up,
Like the perfect lover.
I would offer them a map,
Showing the way right to their doors next to the fruit stand or the public house,
But all I have is old napkins with your promises scribbled on them in spit.
I would offer them a drink, poor freezing miserable souls,
But I can't seem to locate anything in my broken-crate cupboards except
3-in-1 oil and kerosene.
I think the arctic explorers may be spirits, ghosts,
From the way they are blurring and wavering in front of me.
I go to light a match, but I have grown great useless paws--
What would you think, if I touched you now?
I think you would laugh.
I think you would slam your hope chest closed on my fingers,
And roll out your new husband on a trolley, to introduce us.
I try to tell the arctic explorers about how you once sought my kiss, my breasts, and the warm skin sanctuary of my body;
I try to tell them that I cannot rescue them,
And I see some human glimmer deep in the airless ice of their eyes.
They look even sadder, more lost, and then they say,
"But, madame, you don't understand.
It is us who cannot rescue you.
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