Hypothermia Survival Guide
The ice underfoot stretches, keens, cracks,
with a thunderclap, breaks open swallowing you.
As you surface, your breath rises to chase.
You have one minute to pace it.
I’ve done this drill. I crawled from a snow shelter
barefoot. My brain a sub-zero snarl,
Ten minutes to move before muscle and nerve fibers freeze.
Flutter kick to float. Howl like a dying wolf ensnared.
Dead of night. Dead of winter. Dead cold.
Snow shifted into a river around, through my thighs.
In one hour, you’ll lose consciousness.
Before that you’ll have forgotten your name.
A girl I barely knew raised to my cry, spooned me
as a lover until my naked body hummed thermal,
my eyes blinked open, lips pinked. Nerves lit.
She checked my vitals, my seared skin.
As your crazy sets in, groan for some body.
Yowl for the sweat, stink of human flesh
to haul you from the suck of dreams pooling,
stripped to a husk, cradled as you burn back alive.