My reflection fades and distorts in the fogged damp
of double-panes, hanging against a fading, ice-blue
afternoon. Beyond the window frost coats trees
and stones not yet snow-smothered. It’s a ghostly world,
dead as the moon. How many promises of youth betrayed
by ice and snow, so bleak and brumous, delicate
and sharp. So much loss to such inhuman cold
the tongue cleaves itself to the frozen world to try to tell.
But there you appear, shrouded against the chill, contemplating
rimed stones through the viewfinder of the old Hasselblad. I think I see
your boot steps in the snow and see you smile.
I reach out in Proustian embrace to evoke you fully, to feel
your form and share the warmth beneath its woolen shrouds.
Then I’m back, to my reflection, between us as once I existed for us.
Richard C. Owens is a lifelong poet and photographer, who was once a lawyer, professor, journalist, and think tank senior fellow. Born in Montréal, he lives in Toronto. He has long been an energetic advocate for artists’ rights, women’s reproductive rights and against hate speech.