In childhood you unfold the map
of the world and smooth it out
with your small hand, and with one finger trace
a path somewhere not very far, usually
a block or two from home where the pond
is frozen over, where the trees sag
a little from the weight of ice, where the birds
are talking their language of pearl
and pit, where the creek
has stopped its constant complaining.
You arrive there with your new skates,
you try a little spin, and you spend
the rest of your life with that image.
Not the branches or the brambles,
not the pale moon,
not even the birds,
but the skates, all white and amazing,
there below you
at the end of your body.
—from Nancy Botkin’s Parts That Were Once Whole, Mayapple Press (2007)