Ode to the Fat Child Who Went First onto the Thin Ice
to test it for three of us about a dozen feet
behind. He was a big boy
and could have broken
each of us, had he chosen to.
Instead, he was a good big boy,
whose mother loved him and called him Pumpkin.
It was on a pond, once a local source
for the frozen water trade, and, at this part,
Ice House Beach, the thickest, the last to thin,
everyone said. Early spring of a hard winter.
On the opposite shore, there were some woods
we wanted to enter, a shortcut home.
He disdained a rope we’d brought.
He went forward about ten feet.
We went back about ten feet.
At midpond he said: Come on,
one at a time, it’s plenty…
We’d retreated up the beach ten more feet by now.
He crossed to the other side
and called again, but while his back was turned,
we took the longer, the meek way, home.
Photo of woods in winter courtesy Pixabay.