On Soldiers in Winter      A. J. Heskett 
In tundra, we stood shoulder to shoulder to block
The chill north wind. We warmed ourselves beneath
The stars, stealing life from pale flesh, bored to death.
Flailing arms, stomping feet, cursing breath, conspired to mock
That rigid gesture, our soldiers duty. "Like a rock",
The sergeant said, "stand tall, they watch our post," Our breath
fell steaming, spilling hot air into cold—a sheath
Of ice formed on our beards. Black boots and green socks
Covered blue toes. Quakers' feet on guard duty...
Above, the lights began again. The Aurora
Performed her song and dance. The crowd grew moody.
We dreamt of warmth and life before the oracle
Of the pentagon sent us to guard the ice.
With our eyes we spoke of home, lovers, and vice.

A.J. Heskett 82

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