Ice Queen – by Stuart Pickford


He drives her to Lake Simcoe. At the jetty,
fishermen are heading out to the huts.
She’s imagining live bait and hooks
when he swings the wheel, swerves onto the ice.

Earlier, she’d run her measured route,
pushed a personal best with her GPS.
After her shower, she’d wound the towel
into a turban, dressed with her back turned.

Now, she doesn’t look at him to say,
Idiot. He answers by hitting the gas,
speeds towards Georgina, the Ojibwa island.
The Chevy lurches. Swearing, they tip

into the crevasse that’s opened under pressure.
He checks the wedged front tyres, tells her
to sit tight in the back with the heating on,
the engine ticking over. He slams the door.

Light weakens. Trekking back he finds
the car’s silent—so far across the floes
to the island. He couldn’t make them understand.
Breaking in, his torch cuts up the darkness.

There she is, upright; her body wrapped
in white insulation ripped from the ceiling;
her cheeks made up with glitter, frost
in her hair; queen of the coldest stars.




Stuart Pickford works in a comprehensive school in Harrogate. He is married with three children.

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