The Ice Maiden

by Shawna Lenore Kastin

I will make my heart of ice, she said, 
the blooming spike of the North Wind’s bite, 
all glassy sheathes with jewels of steel. 
No name traced on my pillow
save the frozen syllables of space.

Though I may burn like the coldest star,
drunk on matter and blue flame, 
though I may break and scatter
like the avalanche, I will have swallowed
glaciers, made from my bones a palace 

of icicles and chains, never to shed warmth,
never to love and loving succumb to salt. 
For ice never lies or cheats or cheapens, 
and what sleeps frozen in the river’s heart 
never weeps, never weakens.

Shawna Lenore Kastin is a poet, singer and corsair in training. She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and her poems can be found in Mythic Delirium, Goblin Fruit, and Abyss & Apex. Her CD, Mar Português (Portuguese Sea), is a collection of Portuguese poems set to music composed by her father, Darrell Kastin. You can find out more about her music and writing on her blog. Currently, she is attempting a novel. Pray for her.

She says, "I have always been torn between three fruits: the passion fruit, the apple, and the pomegranate. The first makes me think of the islands my ancestors came from, the pungent-sweet taste of maracujá and the bitter-salt taste of the sea. The second calls to mind the islands of paradise and the golden fruit that can give you eternal life or cast you out of paradise, depending on who is telling the story. And the third, of course, reminds me of those underground palaces full of red fruit that can keep a girl forever or give her back to the world above. I think each of us needs a little of all three. A little passion, a little life, and just a taste of death."

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