What the Pond Claimed (Day 7, 2017)

Because today is the seventh day of National Poetry Writing Month, we were asked to write about luck.

What the Pond Claimed

It was rare for there to be
ice on the surface of my
parents’ pond, but it
had been a hard winter 
with temperatures in the single digits
and knee-high snow for
most of January.  Even so, we
were not supposed to 
go onto the ice.
If my mother had not
gone to the bank
and left the three of us alone
things might have been
different.

Nick, who at 14 was the 
oldest, thought he 
understood the danger 
so we raided 
my father’s toolbox for
a screwdriver, a hammer, and a
tape-measure 
with which we could
punch a hole in the 
frozen surface
right above the deepest water
to determine the 
thickness of our foundation
and decide whether it
would hold us as we
slid and roughhoused and
fell on our asses
pretending to skate.

Because safety was important,
Nick instructed Richie,
who was strong for a 
ten-year-old, 
to grab a glove-full of 
my winter coat, as I (11)
would hold tight to Nick,
thus forming something called
The Chain of Life,
a technique which Nick
supposed would allow
two of us to rescue 
a companion
who had fallen through,
but which 25 years of
life experience has taught me
was a near-perfect way to
kill us all.
Thus connected and
equipped with the
borrowed tools, we 
tromped onto the ice
in polyester-fill snow-suits and
ill-fitting steel-toed winter boots,
creeping toward the pond’s center
like the world’s largest
and most foolish
centipede.

We did not drown
in murky pond-water,
surrounded by dazed fish,
sucked downward by the
weight of our wet snow-gear.
The ice was thick enough 
for us to break 
The Chain
and scamper around until
my mother’s Ford Tempo
hit the long, gravel driveway
and we had to rush 
for land as she shouted
in fear and stupefied anger.
We were fine, but the
screwdriver fell through
our measuring-hole
to a muddy grave that
rightfully should have
belonged to the three of us.
My father never asked,
most likely blaming himself 
for misplacing 
what the pond claimed
in our place.


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About semiblind

Bringing you stark existentialism since 1981.
This entry was posted in best-laid plans, family, fear, history, NaPoWriMo, people, poetry and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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