Candle Ice

— Diane Lee Moomey

In that month when sap rises,
when smoke rises, and steam from sugar shacks
across the great North,
when night is loud with frost, and bright
middays break water free of ice, then
lake ice, for its own reasons, begins
its melt from within. Not
withering crystal by crystal
till disappearing altogether, but
by washing away in a most
vertical manner, leaving candles.
Just candles. Ice candles.

We eat them like popsicles . . .

Not like icicles — merely roof water,
tar water, bird poop water,
though not without merit: available all winter long,
harvestable with mittened hands.

No, these candles require bellying-down to the dock, require
a bare-armed plunge to the elbow,
probing the still-icy waters
for a whole one, one as long as the ice sheet,
January-thick.

Our gourmet tongues: these taste of tamarack,
of loon and pickerel, of kayaks and canoes.

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