Mr. Nason Skating on the Merrimack
In March of the year we were in kindergarten,
Mr. Nason told us how on one cold night
he skated from Lowell to beyond Manchester
where we knew the river vanished with a sigh
and the moon’s breath was frozen to the ground,
a silvery rope he climbed to the distant stars.
Looking up, we asked him how he got down.
He pointed to the arching Milky Way so far
away from where we stood. I imagine him
skating from canal to canal into the Merrimack,
a boy wearing a long woolen scarf skimming
over the ice, leaping fall after fall like silver
salmon of myth, a boy who will soon go to war,
a boy bathed in the light of Venus not Mars.
—Tom Sexton, from Bridge Street at Dusk (Loom Press, 2012)