Archive for the ‘“Alexia Skates”’ Category

Alexia Skates

By Barbara Sweeney

She pushes out over the bumpy pond,
the boots of her grandmother’s skates
worn through,
a fine-boned beauty,
willow thin,
hair pale as ash,
eyes the color of lake water
in late spring.
With arms outstretched, she sails
eyes shut into the wind.
Even from far off,
I know her eyelids still make
that blue veined map of the world
all mothers memorize from their sleeping children.

She skates to inner music,
Chopin’s Waltz in C# Major, maybe,
or Bach’s
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, piano pieces
she practices for hours on end,
slender hands sliding over the keys.
She carves figure eights
onto a smooth patch of black ice,
twirls over trout, twigs,
leaves — life frozen into place.
Abruptly she turns and cuts out
across the moaning lake, makes her way
around foot-thick plates of ice pushing up
into jagged planes.
She skates on for half a mile
before turning to freeze me in her frame.
She takes in her world
measure by measure,
as I mark her meters from the snowy shore,
keeping time.