How silent they seem down below,
the society that slid through the ice,
watching us in summer
with no skin over their sky except
that until the sun’s up short, they
sleep. The freeze is what wakes them,
making another map of its
temporary territory like the one
they once drove on from island
to shore, from shore to shack.
Wide white roads they walked
to school, for fish, and for food.
How they love to ride the horses
that years back, swam to bottom.
Or they’ll cruise the currents unseen
in their cars that sank beside shoals.
Warm enough once the river
wants them, content below
their cold ceiling. They send
those who fall through to them
either back up out or farther
down in. It depends on the way
they read the situation.