The pines

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

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