Ice World

by Steven Feeney

I remember the novelty of booking an hour

in the ice bar. We slid and squeezed

past furniture—water in stasis—

shaped antlers, crested thrones,

and unsculpted bricks

like the block of time we had bought,

but unmelting.


In Ice World, we make plans carved in ice. Solid,

no mercy for latecomers, but trickling down

between our toes as we decide

which stories we have time to tell.

“Is that clock right? Get that down ya.”

Thank suffering baristas as we leave

with numb tongues.


I remember the gear we were bundled into

by our Sherpa drink-servers. Woolly hats,

plump puffer coats “and the gentleman

will have the hot pink gloves?” “Oh, they’ll fit.”

In our tundra uniforms we were packed into the shipping

container, where they stored Winter

for the Autumn.


In Ice World, we wear protection; rubber-band twang

around the ears. A cloth that erases your

mouth, but speaks. It says, “I’d rather look silly

than chance killing someone.” It’s unfashionable;

an access pass to the fractured former everyday.

Huff, huff, and glasses fog up.

The world freezes over.


I remember the strangeness of the solitude, during

our slot in the tipped over freezer. Just us two

and the bartender (‘bored out of his ice-

brittle brain’).

He asked us to come behind the bar and have a look,

if we liked. The social convention of bartender-punter

crumbling as we avalanched over the counter.


In Ice World, we are ruled by snowmen

who point gnarled sticks in unclear directions

and melt when questioned.

We sit spread out, on untouched blankets of

grass, and adapt to this new blizzard planet

or freeze in place and wither.

During his time in Aberystwyth University, Steven Feeney was fortunate enough to have a number of poems featured in MA anthologies. More recently, his short story ‘Wow, What a Day’ was accepted for the Freedom issue of Popshot Quarterly.