Mostly flat, the fields did have some gentle rolls, subtle
valleys, in the spring or fall all green with weed flecked grass.
In winter the white snow would become laced with looping
trails, evidence of recesses. But with rain or snowmelt,
the shallow dips became lakes. The lawn then was a sea,
treacherous and deceptive. Especially when it froze.
We could not resist and ignored the cautioning adults,
running, sliding, skating in our shoes, cracking the thin
surface with our small bodies weighted by boots and
extra layers. I fell in once. Through the ice at a weird angle.
In the lowest part of the field. Instantly soaked, terrified,
in my panic my feet refused to find bottom. When you're small
even shallow is deep. My mittened hands could not find
anything firm to hold onto, but only kept breaking
more ice, slipping back. I went under. But then finally
was able to stand, sheepishly crack through the thinnest
ice to more solid footing, and, finally, out of the death trap.
I shook with cold embarrassment, knowing I was supposed
to walk home. I’d never make it. But there were parents
there who knew me, with cars, come to pick up their sons
and daughters, who lived near me. Neighbors. Only one, Ronnie’s
mom, grudgingly, offered to give me a ride, but made be scrunch
down on the floor of the backseat, over the floor mat, like a bad
dog headed toward extinction at the pound. I whimpered
quietly, feeling ashamed and foolish. At home, Mom
got me out of my cold wet clothes and into a warm
bath. She made me hot chocolate which I sipped, safe,
dry, reclothed in pajamas, wrapped in a blanket
on the couch watching Popeye. Loved. That night, I
dreamed of being underwater, cold, in the dark,
and awoke different, baptized.
* It’s PoMo! To learn about PoMo (POetry MOnday), click here. Going back to the school, Sunnyside Elementary in New Castle, Indiana, as an adult, while the field of grass surrounding the school still seems large, it's not as expansive as it looked to us who were then tiny. I could see how with the dips filled with water, a small body could easily be submerged. It was a frightening and embarrassing experience. Have you had anything similar happen to you as a child or as an adult? How did it affect you? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Note: I put the graphic and poetry quote at the bottom to preserve the line length of the poem. You may need to open your browser to the full width of your screen to ensure there are no line breaks.
Click here to read a sample chapter (PDF) from my forthcoming novel, “The Hungering Dark: Awakening.” To learn more about the book, go to TheHungeringDarkStory.com.
In the meantime here's a campaign I could get behind... POETRY: Make America Great Again!