Nothing but north wind,
black-coffee night sky patterned
by quartz-chipped stars. Fortified
by red wine, chunked chocolate
our pre-ski picnic warmed the blood.
Wrapped in Arctic gear, we crossed
and looped the lagoon parallel
to the Chukchi Sea. Shuffle and glide
of cross-country skis masked
by laughter at our dogs unwilling
to skijor; laughter at the brittle hollow
sound of thirty-below, that crack
of loneliness shelved and distant.