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  • Pat O'Regan



There now—the shivering has subsided—

The embrace of the cold is gentler now.

The angry monkey in my head—“Stupid!

Stupid! to get lost in the dead of winter!”—

Is calmer. Thought I was tougher than that,

Crying and blubbering like a baby,

When I could not take another step,

In the cold pitchy black from tree to tree

And about, five paces each way,

The morning light a hundred years away,

With the ravenous cold consuming me,

And my shivering shaking the ground.

Why did I do this? And never to think

I have to get out before dark!—Easy,

Easy—The moose and her calf I saw…

She has great rolls of fat for warmth,

But what of the calf—thin like me?

It cuddles up to her, for warmth.

Pull the parka closer, draw up my legs…

Heavy boots and rifle… Where is it?

Somewhere about… Out of ammo,

Fired it all up… No one heard… Or cared.

Stupid! twice I came out on a road,

Only to turn back into the woods,

As if wanting to die, walking until

The last light itself dimmed and died,

Then only to think, “Now I can’t get out!”

Easy now… One blizzardy day, Mel said,

“I don’t hate no deer that much,”—ha, ha—

And stayed in the cabin—the year I shot

Two deer at once—a doe and her yearling,

Trying to get up; finished them off quick.

Not like me… Am I shivering again?

Am I warm or cold? Do I wake or sleep?

Close the window. The breeze is on my face.

This bed is hard and cold, cover me over,

So I can sleep. I’m sleepy, and the day

Has been long and hard.

—Pat O’Regan


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