In January the world froze. Smoke refused to rise. Squirrels hung from branches. The sky cracked. From everywhere the sound of popping, cracking ice. I stood at my dining room window. A blanket around my shoulders. Fog rising from my breath. Watching my neighbors come out of their houses. Each one chisel through the ice. Breaking down their own doors. Climbing out any window. Jennifer made it three steps before her right leg cracked and shattered. Chris and Traci reaching for one another saw their hands cascade in broken shards. Sarah never made it out the driveway before her face chipped away and from her head. I couldn’t imagine any fool braving that world. Still, James was working on his door with a blowtorch. Terry and his dog scratched at a basement window. Even old Mort and Muriel were ramming the car against the garage door. I alone was hiding inside the walls of my house. Believing it was enough to live alone. Trying to recall why I would ever go outside. Praying I would never have to brave the cold world.