The Ice Carver

A skilled carver is working without gloves
to form a figure out of an ice block.
He moves his wooden tool at sharp angles,
slicing away the dull sheen sheet by sheet.
The ice is thick and it will take a lot
of heat to melt it. Heat waves can do that
but here the lake is known for its coldness,
frogs leaving as soon as September comes.
Carvers can spend the whole winter
cutting a single image from the ice
just to bring a frog or a white crane back
into sight from the shoreline of the lake.
The deepest parts are tinged with the light
blue of a crystal. It is almost like seeing
the lake inside out. When the carver finishes
his figure, it is just about the end of winter.
The lake ice starts to groan and splinter
and recede like a maturing hairline.
One water molecule splits into two,
then two into four, and four into sixteen
until the entire surface area comes apart.
The frogs then stir, calling to each other.

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