Looking Out Across The Ice

An old man skated figure eights
on the surface of a frozen lake.
He thought about all the times before
When he would come to this place with his friends,
and they would all feel a burning in their lungs
from the cold air.

For some reason his old body
did not falter under the stress of skating.
It was like he was a young man again,
and maybe he forgot he wasn’t
because he jumped.

It was like the thrill of merely gliding
atop frozen water was not enough, and
the old man bent his bad knees and forced
himself toward the winter sky.

For a moment, the old man felt better than ever before.
Nothing at all could touch him.
Hanging in the milliseconds between
Rising and falling.

Upon landing, he was reminded of the truth.
His knees were weak like wet cardboard,
and his cold feet returned to the ice
with the sound of gravity, and the shredding of
brittle bones.

The man’s right leg hit the ice at a bad angle
breaking all the bones within until the limb bent jaggedly forward.
His skate became even with his jugular,
and it glided across the surface of his warm flesh.

The ice chilled the side of the old man’s
tired face until it burned.
A syrup like pool of red began expanding
across the surface of the pond.

The old man wanted to laugh,
since there wasn’t much else he could do,
but he couldn’t because doing so
caused his blood to leak out
in greater quantities.

So, he just lay there on the ice
he has known since he was a child.
Waiting for his eyes to shut off,
and his friends to come out of the darkness and greet him
like they did all those years in the past.

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