Poem: Midday - Skating at "The Midway"

Jan 15, 2015 by Bethel Swift, in Poetry , Form & Free Poems

Somehow I didn’t notice them—
all flailing arms and slipping feet—
until they slid down right in front of me
solemnly stating, “We need help.”

Their faces are sweet, serious, supplicant—
but paying parents are watching and scowling.
This class is for privileged children to learn
to hold their own at privileged parties.

So first-time, (only time?) ice skaters—
even though they have made it this far
and ducked under the dividing line—
can not participate for free. I am so sorry.

Another sister, eagerly copies our group
from the other side, makes good strides.
Calls over, “Am I doing it right?” I smile,
toss a crumb of advice over thin blue twine.

I was like that girl, years ago, wishing for
an angel coach to take me under wing.
But I had to bide time, learn on my own.
She may too, I know, but can’t let it go.

Home again, I see a group of children in the dark,
shoe-skating on a patch of ice in a flooded empty lot.
I sigh, sit down to write. All that comes to mind, trite:
"Life is not fair, life is just not fair . . . "