the ice, five parts
7 february 2015
i saw it from a distance and knew it would be there:
frozen ditch water.
cold wind with a sun bright and unwarming,
i get to it and see its smooth surface.
i don’t resist the childlike desire
to see if it will hold me.
the risk is low, the water so shallow
i won’t get wet
even if i break through.
we’re in a bit of a valley together, the ice and i.
nestled by just enough land
the wind escapes us.
i tap my foot, smiling.
i press the ball of my foot, smiling.
i ease my heel down, smiling.
what i want isn’t as much for it to hold me
as it is for me to crack it and not fall through.
i want that muffled zing sound
like it might sound
if someone tapped two metal spoons underwater
while i lay on the bottom of the tub.
i want the rush of not knowing
if i should be doing this.
i want to make my mark from one side to the other.
i want the satisfaction of my weight
being just enough and not too much.
and smiling, i did it.
the surface gave just a little and then the zing.
the same ditch water that flows to the creek
where i make ripples in spring.
i walk further down the road, smug and grateful.
and while my feet keep moving,
my eyes widen, my mouth’s smile slacks,
there is clamoring from my belly up to my throat,
my heart and mind lurch to a stop.
i am the ice
he is the weight
i am the ice
she is the weight
my joy dipped then soared
in the weird way that discovering truth,
even when horrific, does.
THIS is what it was like
not a gentle ripple making a change
affecting the whole.
not a round pebble plopping into a buttery pond of water.
not a source of anticipation for the fresh frogs on the shore.
it was the nearly inaudible jolt
the muffled zing
the startling uncertainty
the quiet shock
spanning one side to the other
sent through my frozen body
cracking the whole.
i get back to the cracked ice.
my heart and body adjusted
to their own revelation,
my mind is curious about the crack,
my camera ready.
the middle is cracked.
the surface is smooth.
underneath is still flowing.
the center, the part still frozen,
i feel validated by the ditch.
this IS what it’s like.
scraping off the smooth top,
melting my way
through the hidden cracks,
to be in the flow.
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