Skating With Jupiter for Agha Shahid Ali
by Douglas “Woody” Woodsum
Something there is that loves mitten – piercing cold in the quiet
heart of midwinter. The sun sinks. Early stars flicker. Rain
fell during the thaw last week. The newly iced – over marsh
is perfect for skating again, even with bumps and cracks.
Skate blades scrape and throw shavings. Blown snow impinges from shore.
Not a bird in sight. Even the crows have gone off to find
a protected perch or a fresh kill on the road: protein
to help outlast the long night. I have not fallen once, no barked
up knee, elbow, or hip . . . no broken wrist. My crude carving
writes a script a keen – eyed soarer might imitate above
up where light fades, Jupiter shines, up where — I cannot
decide — grace abounds or there is none. One way the breeze bites
my face; the other, it gives a small push. I sit, unlace,
feel ice, feel place without a voice: the hard and crisp I love.