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Selected poems from Ice Carver

Seven Kitchens Press, 2017

Ice Carver


   ~ After a photograph by Emmet

      Gowin: Dalton Dishman, ice

      carver. Danville, Va., 1970.



He has fashioned a boat

out of a block of hardened

water, a crystalline tug, highlight    

on its bow, its whole length glassy,                                      

gleaming even under the dim lights—

bare bulb overhead, one at the back—

inside this frost‑raftered vault.


In the photograph it is 1970

and nothing is perishable.

A transparent boat cruises the dark

floor of its hospitable chamber.

Through the open doorway we look upon it.

The sculptor, middle‑aged, tall, and in

shirtsleeves (perhaps it's summer out),

stands immediately behind it, his

heart at the picture's dead center;

his gaze direct but shy; lips

lightly closed, as if he momentarily

holds his breath, to let his shining ship

have this clear instant of glory.

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