Ice cold

The glaciers that flattened my part of the world made their exit eons ago, but in Alaska, where Peggy Shumaker lives and writes, they’re just now beginning to turn back. Only deep in a Nebraska snowbank can you shovel your way into the blue she describes at the end of this poem, from her new and selected poems, “Cairn,” from Red Hen Press.

Exit Glacier

When we got close enough

we could hear


rivers inside the ice

heaving splits


the groaning of a ledge

about to


calve. Strewn in the moraine

fresh moose sign—


tawny oblong pellets

breaking up


sharp black shale. In one breath

ice and air—


history, the record

of breaking—


prophecy, the warning

of what’s yet to break


out from under

four stories


of bone-crushing turquoise