On The Separate Shining Dance

Skating in Harlem, Christmas Day


Cynthia Zarin

-To Mary Jo Salter-

Beyond the ice-bound stones and bucking trees, 
past bewildered Mary, the Meer in snow, 
two skating rinks and two black crooked paths

are a battered pair of reading glasses 
scratched by the skater's multiplying math. 
Beset, I play this game of tic-tac-toe.

Divide, subtract. Who can tell if love surpasses? 
Two naughts we've learned make one astonished 0-- 
a hectic night of goats and compasses.

Folly tells the truth by what it's not-- 
one X equals a fall I'd not forgo. 
Are ice and fire the integers we've got?

Skating backwards tells another story-- 
the risky star above the freezing town, 
a way to walk on water and not drown.

-from The Watercourse


Popular Posts