Crystal ice cracking under swollen, broken feet
Midnight frost whisping my choking breath on still air
Coiling fumes burning at my cheek,
Like glowing flames in the orange halo
Of a sodium light's mocking imitation warmth.
Stooping, black split nails scrape a but end
From the cold concrete slabs
That will mark my unsigned grave.

I shiver, mumbling, shumbling.
Walking faster to shed the chill gripping at my body
Aimless wandering. Not daring to rest
Else timeless sleep should ensnare
The tired aching shell I carry
And turn me brittle crusted
Like unswept fallen leaves
Dried and crushed.

A dog howls, crying to the moon
Another, angry barks, annoyed at being wakened
Sweet warm dreams disturbed abed.
Is it just the cold that stains my face -
Unwashed since ... When?
Or does a faint memory of crisp linen, bottle hot
Beckon with a Humpty Dumpty rhyme
And a soft kiss.

So my bloodied lips kiss the bottle
In shaking wracked hands,
Disease suppurating in every joint.
Body retching at the poison white-fire liquid.
No longer able to be drunk or sober;
Walking, walking , walking.
Away - from? To - where?
Death will find me soon enough, but not tonight.

 Frog 1998