Friday, October 14, 2005

Ice Code 2017

I don't want this blog to turn into a continuous sequence of tech posts, so I am going to insert another poem. This is the first overt piece of science-fiction I've written in a long time. I have to thank Arcade Fire for inspiration, indirect though it may be.

Ice Code 2017

That final June in Ottawa
Before the evacuation
I witnessed a tundra storm
Sheets of ice vertical and thick
Descended from the sky
As massive as those segments of the north polar cap
That had melted, split off from the
Once-solid ice floes
Metre-thick snow, dense as concrete
Had floated out to sea
Dismembered itself as vapour
And finally come back to earth again
Thousands of miles away
To say “hello” in silver-blue fury

It took us three days to dig our way out
Cars broken; bodies frozen in the lobby
Of Chateau Laurier
The supermarkets long closed and empty
Shelves cleared, cans hoarded, police in the streets
Parliamentary panic in the crumpled shadow
Of the husk of the Peace Tower
And no-one on the canal

I saw the black smoke
From the ruins of the Rideau Centre
And found you held like stone
On the icebound floor of the shopping arcade
Neon orange emergency lights
Flashing their code across rigid white hair
Small knives of glass covered in blood crystal
Where they had pierced your throat
From the inside out
Now melting on the tile
Under rescue crew spotlights

Your eyes were blue, still, and clear
Locked solid like water running deep
Under that sheet river ice we once used to skate
Your breath frozen in one last plea
A global warning it's now too late
To hear


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