Each block a foolish fortress, secured by moats
Black ice a glossy menace, boiling oil,
Spilled carelessly before the parapets
Of deep carved snowdrifts, dirty walls.
The streets are easy salted fields
Yet risk exposure to far-off foes.
I spy for drawbridge driveways
Left open by exposéd drains.
Heels, sharp grappling hooks, hoist me across
Hard frozen dents of crenellated tracks.
Each safehold mastered, overrun,
Crusade abandoned, I’m safe at home.
The dark is coming,
The smaller world of winter.
Drawn in around the limits of my sight,
Gathered close, shadows bind my paths.
Moving from boxed world to boxed world,
Work and train and home and back again,
Fleeting glimpses of the setting sun
Remind me of lost landscapes, hidden now.
To face the dark, go out beyond the visible
Takes much more trying, time and thought:
Layers of defense to mummify me, protect
In short days grown hostile to human frailty.
My mind draws inward, travelling alone
Down the pages of old friends, books lining my walls:
Imagination insulates from boredom and reproach
Against this all too natural annual return.
Bundled safe, beneath these covers
My world condensed, enlarged
I choose my bounds, escape the limits
Of light delineating life.
Dark side streets in Chicago
Sunset from my workplace
Last glimpse of the sun from the train
Bundled, waiting for trains
A frosted night in Chicago
bookshelves surround my bed
A blanket tent