how strange it feels to return as a guest
to this city where my children were born
to sit above this frozen lake, barely a block
from where she squeezed them into the world.
chicago ice is harder than ice in the mountains
all blocks and harsh geometries, the cold indifference
of the city. there’s so much they don’t tell you
about raising a child, like how warm they are
when you hold them as they sleep
how they arrive complete with their own destinies
committed to making their own mistakes;
how you’ll touch them less and less as they age
as if you’re both slowly fading into a story
how you’ll watch, helpless, as they suffer
the crushing pains of this embodied human life.
beneath the ice, the waves still come, lifting and cracking
the heavy gray plates. one day, they say, spring
will return, but tonight, it’s just the slow rolling
of unseen waters, the lifting and settling of the frozen lake
the slow and brutal grinding of ice upon the shore.