Ice Skating In New Orleans


My older sister, several other girls

met on the concrete square in our backyard


to test the sheet of ice that wouldn't melt

in rare moments of a "real" winter


in a New Orleans suburb. In 1994, 

they were only in junior high


but seemed so grown up when I was five

and watched how easy it was for them to teach


me how to slide over the slipperiness

in tennis shoes, pretending to be the figure


skaters we watched spin like a quarter 

on the edge. In shorter legs, I was much more


careful, but it went beyond the leftover ice.

They were giggly, but even as a child


I was tight-lipped and numb after Thanksgiving,

silently asking why everything moved in 


slow motion--like the moment

I didn’t catch my balance in time,


slamming my palms into the ice

when it was time to break my fall.


Then overbearing crisis--"Are you okay?" Yes, 

just tired while too busy listening to the hush


between our willow's naked branches,

still too young to know why. I just wanted to


dust myself off, go back inside, listen to quiet until

I fell asleep in my coat, where it was warmer, safer 



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Stu Buck

Fri 1st Feb 2019 17:12

this is very warm despite the subject matter and i enjoyed it a lot

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