Lake ice cracks like an egg,
in small fissures
then all at once.
An unlit firework in the night.
I am still shocked
we missed the sound,
beneath the hubris of our revelry,
counting down to the end
of the year.
Our parents sunk into reminiscing and Schnapps,
beach barbeques and frat parties,
euphemizing jello shots and sex:
things we were too young to know.
And us, between girls and women,
whispering in broken firelight
wishing we were sisters.
I told her everything was different here,
fiery autumn leaves and thunderstorms of snow.
She said California was the same,
but felt different alone.
I thought the west coast
was as far away as she could be.
Summer to winter
in miles instead of days.
When sun cracked through branches
we slipped between night and day,
our laughter sunk in snow.
We smudged snow angels and
smoked winter breath between mittened fingers,
tugged her virgin feet into skates;
our long shadows still safe on shore.
After, I ran
clutching a wet green mitten
already crisp as bacon in the cold.
Her mother got stuck
between window and door
feeling the past slide through numb fingers
and desperately curling her hands
like a hot cup of coffee.
Our fathers ran barefoot
across three pairs of footprints.
Hers still holding a spatula.
I understood it was too late
when her mother
took that solitary mitten from my hands,
now limp and mossy with the scent of damp wool.
She slept holding it for months.
Only some things reappear
in spring: frogs, turtles,
broken wooden oars, bright red bobbers, beer cans polished silver,
In the after,
I still swam.
Dove under the surface
into the vibrant green still
glowing with omnipresent light
and timed how long
I could hold my breath.
I can only surface
when the pressure in my chest
underwater becomes heavier
than in the cool air above.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Katie Predick is an ecologist living in Tucson, AZ. She is a student in the Master Workshop at the Writers Studio and her poems are included in a forthcoming edition of Adelaide Literary Magazine.