What Is It That Lasts? by Paul Freidinger

There we stare at the sheer wall
of ice and giant shards breaking off,
crashing into the sea,
                                  and they’re a deep

blue we hadn’t seen before, trance-like,
as authoritative voices in the background
    remind us the bulk of mass exists
        below our perception,

and even in the glacial present
we sense liquefaction beginning

so that, what is it that lasts?

    What memories blast from
the inside and shape our course?

A sliver of ice connects us and evaporates,
    fades, becomes forgotten,

until one day no one will believe
the world was covered by frozen
    mountain ranges

or accept you and I were bound
by something we fabricated,

and the worn book you gave me
lies dormant, immense in its silence,

and we can think about God despite
    our knowledge of tomorrow

and our emptiness, that what we cannot
    claim beneath the surface

             and, thus, lose

is bigger than anything that has
happened so far.

Paul Freidinger’s poems are published or forthcoming in After Hours, Atlanta Review, Basalt, Bayou Magazine, Big Muddy, Cold Mountain Review, Confrontation, Eclipse, Evansville Review, 580 Split, Folio, Florida Review, Grist, Isthmus, Kentucky Review, New Plains Review, New York Quarterly, Pacific Review, Potomac Review, Provo Canyon Review, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, South Carolina Review, South Dakota Review, Still Point Arts Quarterly, Subprimal Poetry Art, and Triggerfish Critical Review.