If Cold Is a War

By Ann K. Schwader

If cold is a war, it was forced upon us

By foreign powers or falling stars,

By climate crash or a terror weapon,

By ignorance of a mayfly's ending.

Our earth & seas & sky are one

Vast absence: vision dimmed to snow-blind,

Clocks & calendars featureless.

If cold is a war, it is always.

If cold is a war, it has mustered weapons

Past defense: no keep, no bunker

Warms itself without resources

Sacrificed to other crises.

We make our stands by hearths on which

Our oldest ally starves & sputters,

Leaving us little but bitter ashes.

If cold is a war, we are losing.

If cold is a war, there can be no quarter

Asked or given from forces older

Than any motive we understood,

Than any tactic we thought perfected.

Retreat is a dream of stardrives shattered,

Of cities crystalline & silent,

Of people dying in drifts like cattle.

If cold is a war, we are taken.


Ann K. Schwader lives, writes, and Corgi-walks in Westminster, CO. Her Lovecraftian sonnet sequence In the Yaddith Time is forthcoming from Mythos Books. Her work has recently appeared in Mythic Delirium, Tales of the Unanticipated, Dark Wisdom, and elsewhere, and has received numerous Honorable Mentions in Year's Best Fantasy & Horror. She is a member of SFWA, HWA, and SFPA. You can find more of her work in our archives, in Rehearsals for Oblivion, Strange Stars & Alien Shadows, Horrors Beyond, The Weird Sonneteers, Architectures of Night, or on her website.