The Light Burning

As we passed them, the trees
glistened from sleet and building
ice. I followed his lantern, grateful
that at least the dirt road was
cracking underfoot.

He had promised a fire, fur rugs,
mohair blankets, a hot shower and
warm food. The wind was picking up.
He didn’t hear me ask, “How much

There were no streetlights any longer.
We came to a path that led down to
lights and a stone cottage when he
offered me his gloved hand. Once inside,
I tried to speak, but my lips were numb.

Walking me to the fireplace, he began
rubbing my hands between his. When
my town lost all power and cell phones
were out, I packed – walking from the
square through snow to the bus station,

unable to get word to him that I was on
my way. For six months in emails, he
told me he had a place, that he would
wait 30 minutes by the road for the
5pm bus to Windham upstate if ever

I needed him. I looked him up in the
yearbook, then read about him online –
the awards he had won for each book.
Now, his beard was ice…for me he had
done this.

I reached to touch his face, not knowing
he had waited an hour by the road after
5pm on each of the past three days…in
snow, in love.