30 Below

When snot freezes in your nostrils,
when the sting of skinburn sinks to eyesocket ache:
the city’s noise, it rises. Even when it’s quiet,
Monday mid-morning when the well-dressed
have rushed off to subways and office towers,
frigid air bounces sound from every surface:
Chugging motor-roar, the loud fat slap
of car tires on frozen tracks,
the prolonged lumbering rumble of streetcars —
piercing grate of chilled metal on metal.
And the fast sharp click of high-heeled boots
rushing rushing toward coffee shops and warm,
away from the ear-cleaving blare of car horns;
vapour clouds cling to their fur-trimmed faces
as they shout into cell phones, voices shrill.

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