It was during a cold snap last March in Ouray
when the power went out: the thermometer stuck
minus thirty at night and in daytime the pine smoke
constipated the valley, pushing its way up
the blue couloirs, sitting like soap water
in the sharp, distant sun over town.
The sewer pipes ruptured, the snow-plows’ engines
seized and the radio tower went silent.
Eight-foot columns of brittle white ice hung down
from the high-school roof but the students were told
to show up all the same, and the whole population
developed the same dripping cold.
—It was then that early on a clear Sunday morning
(the coldest days always dawn clear in Ouray)
a man and a woman joined the children at play
on the lake ice. They blew soap bubbles that froze
instantly solid and tossed them about
and broke them and simply made more.