Each step was a struggle against the cold
discomfort of the sled jerking forward
into our ankles as we towed each other
home on winter nights
along the snow-packed streets. Car lights
lit the white stripes on our red snow pants
stuffed into flopping black arctics
their metal latches locked in ice.
"The Pines" belonged to my brothers
and me and every kid who lived
near that wooded slope rising from the field
where the Jenks's barn once stood.
From the base we could see
up the narrow chute, a white gash,
to the top and the water tower,
its silver head high above the trees.
We raced, then, one by one,
or piled two and three to a sled
bouncing off mounds, daring side trails,
other sledders close behind.
At the bottom we dug out from under
wet wool, arms, legs, metal runners,
half buried and tossed,
our order lost beneath the snow.
(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society