Sooner or later they came to the still river,
Weed and shoreshoot frozen into the surface.

Or some of them came in the purple night,
Firing out from the map of midwinter,
And breathing, in slim bursts, the emptiness.

Halfway into evening two of them came,
After blue had loosened its tether on the edgings,
To the marsh border: brittle soil half-submerged.

When they entered the snow's heaviness
It was a version of the earth's bank,
Its skin, its shoreline traced deep under ice.

As they approached, their lamp, its heart darkening,
Hungered for tinder, or asylum from the wind.

A candle-ring of light wavered before them.
As she stepped away from the river, it swam into her.

Eric Falci
ERIC FALCI is currently in the PhD program at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York, and did his undergraduate work in Ithaca.  He is originally from Syracuse, New York.