In shade,
this place resembles
the world's most boring photograph:

dim whites, muddy browns,
washed-out grays
like someone
stuck tape over them,
not that deep velvet
Ansel Adams abyss.

But a little early sunlight
filtered through birches
turns everything glam,
the river's ice no longer dun
but seagreen and turquoise
as if Florida were surging up,
a dizzy bird dazed by the daily swing
of magnetic north,
looping the arctic circle
in fifty-mile chunks.

The wan snow now glitters gold
and my shadow floating over it's the color
of a rock star's eyelids,
a shade called lagoon
or blue heaven, sunpony,

This is why polar explorers go mad:
not the cold
but the contrast.

Dunking a cloud-dulled mind
in the sun's prismatic bath
is like quickly heating
frostbit limbs—

it makes sense at first
but that's how you kill a guy—

buzzsawing deprivation
with an overload of bliss.