A Poem in Prose
BY: ANDREW WALKER
It was February. She held her mother’s hand as she walked along the frozen ground, feeling it slip but never falling. She crushed the frozen lake beneath her feet. She had always loved walking on ice. The way it cracked under her feet, painting murals in lines like the veins in the back of her hands. Hands held by her mother so she would not slip. She loved the way it sounded. The crunch. Like bones breaking at the press of a heel. She had always loved walking on ice.
It was February. She was taller now. Bigger. Mother didn’t need to hold her anymore. As she walked and stomped, the ice cracked and crunched. She could see the caged ghosts break free from their toothy prison and dance in front of her eyes. She could feel the ice break slowly at her toes painting murals. The air froze in her cheeks. It stung. A billion icy bees biting her face. It was February. It was a colder February. She took off her gloves and looked at her veins in the back of her hand. Blue, long, aged. Her fingers were long, pulsing icicles waiting for warmth. She pressed them against the mirrored ground. Mamma, she said. The white air around her was still, silent. A dirtied canvas, crumpled and creased, thrown aside. She had always loved walking on ice. Her mother holding her hand. Never letting go. But when the ice broke beneath her, there was no one to hold onto. When the ice broke beneath her, she did not scream. She did not call for help. She did not swim to the surface. As the water froze her lungs she could not scream. She could not call. She could not swim. But she cried. She cried for the ice. She cried for her mother.
She cried because it was February.