This is a story about you,
How you fell through the ice
As a child, the splash of your boots
Closing the panels of ice overhead
Like a door slammed shut.
And about your buddy, pulling
You out red-handed then falling
In himself, the two of you
In and out of the icy water like seals
Frolicking, until your fingers were blue
And you both made shore with a gasp.
I see it all, the trees crowding
The lake like sentinels, the stars
Waiting to break out, the wind
Moaning its low moan as it flings
Snow across the ice.
I see two boys wearing coats and boots
In primary colors their mothers
Picked out, walking home on legs
Gone cold like chunks of wood,
Home to their mother’s unknowing arms.
Sometimes I wake in the night
And think of the other boys
Who have fallen through ice,
Resting now on winter’s cold bed.
In the dark I reach out and touch your hand,
listen to the rhythm of your breath
like waves calming the shore.
I let the darkness swirl around us
And carry us down.
Tina Johnson lives in Sitka , a small town on Baranof Island
located in the Tongass National Forest. Tina's work has been
recently published in Tidal Echoes, a publication of the
University of Alaska, Juneau campus.