by Marge Simon
I meet you in Scarborough. The station is packed with passengers waiting for the next train south. Day by day, the ice is creeping over the earth, unimpeded by the swollen sea. It has obliterated whole cities. Across the channel, it encroaches on the highest peaks. Soon it will join glaciers.
I’ve booked the last room in the hotel still open to visitors. In the hallway two maids are finishing their work. One ducks her head as we pass. The other stares. “She’s rude,” I whisper, putting my arm around your shoulders.
Your eyes walk straight through me, avoiding the part that hurts. My hands tremble and the key is difficult. Someone has stripped the room. The telephone has been disconnected. At least the sheets are clean. We cover the window with my leather coat. We do not talk about the advancing wall of ice.
There is a candle on the dresser. You light the long wick so the flame burns high. It’s hottest at the top, you say, and hold my hand over it, laughing when I pull away.
You tell me how your dreams are mashed up inside. Fix me, say your fingers when they come to free my belt. Your hair is pale moonlight. I touch it with a whisper, “Nothing is irrevocable.”
Your dusky roses died, all bitterroot and weed. When I touch your thigh, you close your eyes.
I wake to a room of frozen dust, a blurred note by the telephone. It is a long way back to the station. I walk past the docks, where all is a shifting curtain of mist. The boats are ghosts on an anthracite sea. Ice spiders come with the fog. They spin pale webs over the street lamps, lambent rainbows on frosted glass.
I wonder if you fear the cold. If you feel it.
Marge Ballif Simon freelances as a writer-poet-illustrator for genre and mainstream publications such as Nebula Awards 32, Strange Horizons, Flashquake, Flash Me Magazine, Dreams & Nightmares, The Pedestal Magazine, Story House and Vestal Review. Marge is former president of the Small Press Writers/Artists Organization and the Science Fiction Poetry Association and now serves as editor of Star*Line.