for Kelly Link
At first I mistook them for the hedgerow. That’s how still the dead were, as they stood in my front yard. In their hands they held the snow, which they’d brought all the way from Canada. They had icicles on their cheeks and chins, heads tilted back, snow covering their faces. I watched from the warm window, and when they saw my hand parting the curtains, they thought I was waving. The dead waved back. I felt obliged to put on my coat, go outside. I brought hot chocolate. The dead weren’t thirsty. They were lonely for the living. We made dead snowmen, dead igloos, packed the snow into a slide for the dead children to go down. The dead love to leave their footprints in the fresh snow, even if they drag their feet. I don’t know why I went with them when they started walking back, past Canada, past Hudson Bay, farther. We came to the North Pole. We kept going north; when you’re dead, it’s important to stay cool. I carried snow, no warmth in my hands to make it melt. To get where the dead are going takes forever. You think you’ll never arrive. Then you’re there.