Hold my breath for me, take my right hand
and have me grasp the ornate knob.
I’ve dug a grave out back for myself, if you would but
walk my feet, do up my face and hair, press my eyelids in.
I’m a child; buckle my shoes, help me with my coat.
I’m an old one; assist me down the stairs, hand me my worn cane.
Night fell like a cat sleeping, so in slipped the breeze,
froze me, my icicle bangs, my frost nipped fingernails laced
in the doily shapes of winter phantoms, chasing Wisconsin
into the Valley of the Lakes, I heard it,
the blue coffin, afloat on the belly of the solid bay,
a granite crib for me to lay with the ashlar piled high around
scraping in its rock-and-fro, a walled snowy garden
balanced upon the thin rim of the gargantuan world.
Drive me there. See the smoke of chill rise
and think like soldiers, marching up the hills to shoot
off long guns, and become horizontal, no fear,
yes, I’ll lie myself in the copper soot,
the forest trees as mirrors, glassy fauna as statues
with shadows caught in moonlight;
all drown with me, we heaped together,
steadfast as crooked branches along the gelid bight.