Dormant, like the earth in winter.
Ground hardening beneath your feet, forming jagged peaks along its surface, tripping the poor fool that tries to connect.
Unapologetically piercing soft pink skin, bleeding it slowly across the tundra. Snow blanketing everything, beautiful but frigid- it is so quiet here. The solitude is intoxicating. No signs of life, no scurrying animals, no flowers bursting forth from the bud, seeking the attention of bees. Nothing but the occasionally caw of the crow, across a desolate landscape in a frosted sky.
Skin encased in solid ice, the kind that you can skate on top of without fear of falling in, falling into someone else – their warmth, their life, their story of you, Tangled up in a calamity of hearts – beating in your ears, your throat, your chest – Tumultuous, emphatic and deafening.
I don’t want to be warmed up.
I will take my numb and frozen limbs, frosted eyelashes adorning vacant eyes and inhale deeply of Skadi’s chilly breath – cleansing me of all the pulsations of life, carnal and sentiment, kinship and lineage – flying over drifts, befriending the shiver the replaces a beating heart.
They will tell stories of me around the hearthfire, huddled close on nights when the wind wails through the trees and the whipping snow blinds unwitting travellers upon the path.
She is monstrous they will say, harsh and exacting. She stands 20 ft tall with eyes like glass, claws of sharpest obsidian, and the fangs of a basilisk.
Do not look her in the eye. Do not get too close. But do not flinch.
The oldest among them will say – once long ago, she used to be a woman – jilted by love, wounded by circumstance, seeking solace, seeking clarity – she set out into the night through the deepest snows and her heart was infected by the ice.
A cautionary tale to keep the children close, to keep the tribe united, to be a grotesque caricature symbolizing the consequences of giving up on love.