A man reads a book about snow. He looks up at the bright wool sky and can feel Siberian breezes blowing through him. “Their fingers would never thaw,” he thinks “never, with pain somewhere in the nerves, in the mind.” The thought of ghost limbs haunts him, the grinding of mortar resonating with the creaking of the missing joints. As he walks down the steaming city streets, his feet clapping the bare flagstones, he sees the city under mounds of disparate snow, foggy imaginings he feet pass through. He almost kicks at a lump of nothingness, catching himself, performing a sort of half-hop/step as he restrains his jerking leg. A patina of frost feels like it’s forming over his eyelids, crackling eyelashes as he blinks and blinks. Crazy traceries of cracked ice spread on his eyeballs, falling exactly between the hot blood vessels. His breath comes in straightened puffs, crystallising and floating away in frozen clouds. “Crazy”, he thinks “This isn’t a new ice-age, yet all I can think of looking at ruddy faces, is them unmoving, glazing snow settling, as they huddle against the rich winter and reach for vodka (they drink it to keep warm in Russia?), reach for vodka and splash it liberally, helping them liberate stored heat, and fool their clever life-preserving internal systems.”
     Later, in bed, he dreams of an ancient university tutor, his rich brown hair turned steel white, his skin-encrusted eyes lost, as he endlessly mumbles “I’ve lost it, I’ve lost it” and rubs his wrinkled fingers

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