(for Brad Berg)

by Shawn Christensen

I stood still,
the glow of the bone-hued moon
burning a silhouette
around my shivering body

I exhaled white vapor
into the october night,
scanned the sky
for a scant few stars
not swallowed by moon glare

He crouched low
among crisp leaves
laced with frost,
searching the shadow
for food to feed a fire

He moved through the night
not stirring the stillness,
barely breaking the icy silence

We knelt opposite one another
our hands together
striking matches,
sweeping fragile flames
beneath crescent edges
of yellowed newspaper scraps

We reached over rising orange-red flames
and grasped hands
brothers amid silent shadows frozen
tending fire
to hold cold
dark at distance
(even as the first flakes
of snow encroached)
etching the image into memory
our dry hands clasped, evoked
when the eyes alight with flame