Ice

Ice

By Gail Mazur b. 1937 Gail Mazur
In the warming house, children lace their skates,   
bending, choked, over their thick jackets.

A Franklin stove keeps the place so cozy
it’s hard to imagine why anyone would leave,

clumping across the frozen beach to the river.   
December’s always the same at Ware’s Cove,

the first sheer ice, black, then white
and deep until the city sends trucks of men

with wooden barriers to put up the boys’   
hockey rink. An hour of skating after school,

of trying wobbly figure-8’s, an hour
of distances moved backwards without falling,

then—twilight, the warming house steamy   
with girls pulling on boots, their chafed legs

aching. Outside, the hockey players keep   
playing, slamming the round black puck

until it’s dark, until supper. At night,
a shy girl comes to the cove with her father.

Although there isn’t music, they glide
arm in arm onto the blurred surface together,

braced like dancers. She thinks she’ll never
be so happy, for who else will find her graceful,

find her perfect, skate with her
in circles outside the emptied rink forever?

 “Ice” from Zeppo’s First Wife: New and Selected Poems by Gail Mazur. Copyright © 2005 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.



Source: Poetry (December 1987).

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This poem originally appeared in the December 1987 issue of Poetry magazine

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December 1987
 Gail  Mazur

Biography

After nearly 13 years of apprenticing herself to poetry, during which she studied with Robert Lowell and immersed herself in the Boston/Cambridge literary scene, Mazur published her first collection, Nightfire (1978), at age 40. Other books include The Pose of Happiness (1986); They Can’t Take That Away from Me (2001); and Zeppo’s First Wife: New & Selected Poems (2006). Tess Taylor, interviewing Mazur for the Atlantic Monthly . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Family & Ancestors, Living, Youth, Activities, Nature, Relationships, Winter, Sports & Outdoor Activities

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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