Carol Lee Vail Prize Runner-up 2021


      by Meg Weston

I picture my mother perched
at the end of a dock—her skates—now mine—
kicking into the air—her arms reaching
to the sky in joyous anticipation
of gliding across the ice,
spinning, smiling, skating
in crisp wintry air.

In my twenties I skated on river ice so black
I could see leaves float downstream beneath my feet.
Thick ice at the edges, open water in the center channel,
we cut our marks on polished mirrors believing
our lives would last forever.

I lace up my skates—her skates—
with torn white leather toes
new laces replace the old knotted ones
too frayed to support my older ankles,
unaccustomed as I am now to standing
on a single sharp edge.

I walk onto the pond, conquering
fears of falling by conjuring her joy,
until I am sailing—arms spread wide,
side-stepping leaves, cracks, bubbles
in the uneven ice, feeling the past slide by
on each single glide of the blade.