• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 05
Image by


Lately I’ve been lighting my morning fire with the thin icicles that I’ve plucked from the guttering of my neighbour’s garden shed, stirring snow into my bitter coffee, spreading it onto my toast.

The edgeless days leak into each other and I can sit watching the blue flames for hours without moving.

Nothing seems to curdle, wilt or rot now. My milk is eternal. Plum jam does not crawl from the toppled lidless jar. My gaudy Christmas roses might well see the spring.

If I had a chiffon dress I would wear it to enhance my translucence, let its fluted sleeves flutter in the warm breeze of the central heating as I wait for the ice man to come with his chiller truck. He will bring bricks of water and a cold cargo of birds carved from blocks of ice – plump sparrows to cool my gin, sparkling swans to grace my lonely table, large ducks to roost on my softening blocks of marzipan. He will bring a box of little eggs, like ovals of polished topaz, packed in straw. If I put them in my mouth I would taste the sharp ether and sugars of an arctic night, but instead I’ll put them in the brittle nests I’ve hidden in my sock drawer.

There’s a man with green boots frozen to Mount Everest, frozen where he fell half-way up the mountain, gummed to the thing he loved and I think that in this strange fevered season we are all neither here nor there, always on the point of freezing or melting.

My lover has become a glittering fixture at the end of the garden, standing with a fruit knife in one hand and half a glassy orange in the other. When the sun shines through his crystalline skin I can see the old autumn meat of his heart. I can remember the way it sparked and crackled when we loved.



Sometimes I go to him in the dark and whisper the summer months into his hard ear. I tell him that the name I carved into a glacier somewhere is slowly losing its letters. I tell him that my hope, like everything else, is turning into liquid.