Sunday, February 10, 2008

Winter Stitchery

Then I headed out leaving lazy daisy footprints
across park snow, dressed in blanket pants,
three pairs of socks, holding the impossible
secondhand skates, scarf tight as a French knot,
cap stitched to brow. Saturday afternoon,
flakes big as feathers sifting through
buttonholes in branches, herringbone of brush
tangles and the scissor legs of skaters.
The warming house smells of wet wool, wood smoke,
popcorn, hot chocolate, shoes chucked under benches.
Lacing on the liberty of blades and sailing
to the generous music, working through my ice patterns:
racing, dreaming, turning, weaving backwards,
holding hands, cracking the whip. Toes turn to iron,
cheeks to satin, trees fade into darkness
and I home to steam dry.

Now, the long and short of it,
I still enjoy a running stretch on ice,
freedom from the chain of heel and sole.
My skates are tailored, my car snow banked.
The suspicious adult who skates alone,
outlining the old dreams on a lake
where trees cross-stitch the ice to sky,
breathing wood smoke, vender treats,
feeling the good cold, knotting up time
for an afternoon,

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