Under Permafrost

King Llanza

My distance from the surface is millions of years.
With me are corpses and corpses of ferns and flowers.
I have lived with death all my life. By heart,
I am another world altogether.

Against my cold exterior brushes a warm embrace
and I melt as slow as a glacier
into the shape of a poem, an ocean around me,
unforgiving. I know of humans who’ve proclaimed
stripping me down upsets the order, yet this world
breathes like their demand to change. In haste,

the air is fever, hot breath. My frozen wasteland
mistakes it for desire to peel me to my histories,
and I succumb. The air goes on, ever in its heat,
wrapped around me. Eventually, when there are
more corpses on the surface than survivors, I will
be open, dead inside
just millions of years behind and recognizing
the sun is a concealing smile for rage. I would
only further ignite it with spirits of decay,
methane, in my heart. Ice completely melted
into a long lyric of falling and rising waves.

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