First Freeze

In the blue hour before dawn
I stand at my bedroom window
close enough to kiss the glass
and breathe back at clouds
of frost the color of moonlit
granite: a luminous whale,
two pillows, a ghost
hill that a tilt of my head
can place between mountains
in the pale distance.

It’s as though the black bear
I surprised on a trail yesterday,
that reared-up thing muscled
like a man who stared at me,
astounded, before crashing off,
came chuffing down last night
to learn what it had run from,
and so stood at my window,
breathing patiently over my
sleep, pawing now and then
at the elusive dreamwater
of a man who had laughed
when it fled from the trail,
but then turned in bed
for hours, the glass pane
growing so thin.

John Calderazzo is a former full-time freelance writer of essays and magazine and newspaper articles, Professor Calderazzo teaches nonfiction writing workshops and literature classes. He’s the author of a how-to writing textbook, Writing from Scratch: Freelancing; a children’s science book, 101 Questions about Volcanoes; and a creative nonfiction book, Rising Fire: Volcanoes and Our Inner Lives (2004). He writes about a wide variety of topics, including the nature of the personal essay, natural history, Asia, Buddhism, and the interrelationships of science and culture. His work has been cited in Best American Stories and Best American Essays and has appeared in Georgia Review, Audubon, Orion, Witness, and many other magazines. He is a winner of a Best CSU Teacher award and a creative writing fellowship from the Colorado Council on the Arts.