Saturday, December 1, 2012

Thin Ice

Photo: (c) Jamie K. Reaser

There is always one winter morning
that is the first winter morning
for ice on the pond.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising to those
who have lived decades
in the north next to still water,

But, for me, it still remains a wonderment,
an ordinary miracle made possible
by elements conspiring
to wake us with befuddling

We have a ritual,
this particular winter morning
and I.

I wait for the sunlight to come,
anticipating the spectrum of colors
dancing among the gas bubbles
trapped in the glassy-crust.

And when it does come,
memory transports me back to my youth:
I am watching small wall-rainbows emerging from
crystalline prisms hanging from lamps
in a home that we once thought
was quiet and tender.

And then I’m in my teens:

The minister arose and ventured
onto the frozen reservoir,
and with the confident stride of a
once-Olympic skater,
drove forward until he found a place
thin enough to free him
of this world.

The imaginary me has stood,
for many a winter,
at the gaping hole left by his
sinking body,

asking questions about beliefs
and vows
and faith.

Now older, I focus on the red-spotted
newts and the snapping turtles moving
in the cold waters below the ice:

No one ever told me they could.
By the rules I was taught,
they can’t.
But they are.

They are there shuffling their thick legs
and looking, golden-eyed, back at me
with not a glint of surprise.

I love this ice, thin as it is.

It reminds me that 
that which can be readily explained 
is sometimes
best left
to wonderment.

© 2012-2017/Jamie K. Reaser
From "Wonderment: New and Selected Poems" (a work in progress)

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