2021 Poetry Broadside # 5: SKATING AFTER MANY MOONS By Marybeth Holleman, Anchorage

By Marybeth Holleman, Anchorage

it’s a small lake, a pond, really, or not
even that, a wet meadow in summer
where our one kind of frog that contains
some kind of antifreeze in its veins lives,
the only one can survive this far north,
our only amphibian, only cold-blooded being,
and when he was young, my boy, and I wanted
to keep him awake to the world, we came here
and listened to the frog chorus, recorded it
for a scientist cataloguing the city’s frogs,
who wanted to see how changing weather
was changing them, would there be more
or less, would they die out as summers dried.
she gave us a recording so we’d know
what to listen for, but there was no mistaking
the tender high notes, held and overlapping
like the rounds I sang at summer camp, calls
unlike the looping lilt of birds. now when
I stand on this frozen meadow, in white
figure skates I got when I was just a girl still
in easy love with this world, I hear all that’s held
under ice, since we recorded the frog chorus,
my boy grown to a man who may or may not
notice the frogs are leaving, when I stand here
seeking the certainty a child feels about
the world that holds her steady, a mother feels
for her boy holding her hand as they cross
the damp meadow and stand still, listening,
when I move, clumsily, cautiously, afraid of
reeling headfirst onto what might crack, my
limbs begin to remember, from my girlhood,
the few times the lake froze, and my dad
took all us kids there, swung us around, and
that one time I skated with a friend who flew
circles and arcs around my leaden feet, my limbs
fling it all and swing me around and around
until I am dizzy in love again, until the world
is aright and all this keeps me twirling.


Author’s Note: This poem was previously published in The Hopper,
August 2020: http://www.hoppermag.org/skating-after-many-moons.


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