Viaduct Ice Chorus by Janet Knox

Tuesday, September 29, 2015 11:49 PM | Debbi Lester (Administrator)

The Alaskan Way Viaduct sings a roaring in our ears,

her hoary freight bears down—rebarred and quaking 

to crush—we stop our ears at stria screeching to break 


Sing a glacial aria. Picture her—she once rode 

a surfboard ice floe ripping through solid water slipping 

the firn, making breccia wakes, scraping 

all matter of chattermarks.

Harmonize a glacier-blue blush—she was whole mother of forward 

surge for half an eon, could not be stopped, 

shadowed the glacier that swept this same Sound. 

Now we cannot hoist her out of her chair.

Aphasia—she forgets the second verse.

Words freeze midbrain, coda becomes hum. She falls 

in a crevasse, off-ramps sequestering carbon—so much 

concrete we recant, we can’t watch icebergs calving fast ice.

She slows—cowers shifts direction like a white wind rose, 

her petals shrivel in frazil. 

She lies—this is not the full story. 

Her tongue muddles in slush. Albedo lost, all reflection dulls.

Once their song clamored.

Now 99, glacier dwindle in cirques, caught in arête, 

retreat since the last ice age, since the last 

carbon storm.

Janet Norman Knox

Janet Norman Knox is a poet/playwright/performance artist who 

bikes via the viaduct twice a day and shudders beneath its mass. 

Her play, “9 Gs and the Red Telephone,” is forthcoming in 

Feminist Studies, the first scholarly journal in women’s studies.

Visit the online journal at

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