I see you in the puddles
I walk through,
torn surfaces
trying to hold my reflection

I see you in the cup of tea
that I have poured hot
from the kettle,
holding it to keep warm,
to drink from and imagine
the heat settling in my stomach
is happiness.

The teapot gets cold
so quickly, my love,
and there is not enough of you
to fill my last cup.

It is cold here, so cold,
and my heart is small
inside its coat.
You opened its thin, too-red door
and walked out quietly,
but you did not latch it
behind you.

And now the cold has set in.

The cold has set in
and blows out every fire I light;
the cold feeds on me
and my heart grows thin.

I think that you will come back
and find this room has turned
to ice, and that I have become
its ice queen,
stone and rock and something
that once knew rivers
but now cannot run.

And you will touch me
but my skin will crack,
and you will whisper my name
but I will not hear.

The first time you cracked me
it felt like relief.
I thought this was love,
seeing you hold all that I was
in your cupped hands,
seeing you carry them,
piece by piece.

The second time you cracked me,
you opened your hands
and said, I’m sorry.
You opened your hands
and let them fall.
You opened the door
and did not close it behind you.

They say this will be
the coldest winter yet.
And I can no longer see
Yeats sitting by this fire,
I can no longer see you
the way I saw you,
the way I saw us,
as we must have looked
at that party,
eyes locked like
two pistols at dawn.

If the weather mirrors our
moods, my love,
then I fear this winter
will not be easy.

Alexis Lateef (Western Australia)

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