By Gail Fischer
Married straight down to her widow’s misery,
it was one of those days when she couldn’t
go on. So, we were taken out
tobogganing by the neighbors, for some
fun, to the Chestnut Ridge Park
full of whole families’ gaiety
under blindingly blue winter sun.
One time I went downhill alone
on a sled going so fast, and everybody
started yelling, “Look out!” and
there was this big, maybe Black Walnut
tree in my way, coming at me.
But I only remember sort of laughing
in myself, and then with some embarrassment
looking back uphill to see the path
that the runners had made on the snow.
My sled’s swift pass had buckled
perfectly, half-circling the tree,
then got back on line immediately beneath.
What had happened, did, beyond reflex.
The calm child joyfully agreed to being saved,
as, a poet, knowing, takes dictation,
trusts the messenger’s delivery to come
between momentous vigilance
and the vector’s flight. Again,
for the effortless, I would be diligent.
Contributor’s Note: GAIL FISCHER will join Edric Mesmer as the featured poets at the next Inner Ear Series reading at 1 p.m. Sunday in Rust Belt Books, 415 Grant St. She is the author of the poetry collection “Red Ball Jets” (Outriders Poetry Project, 2011) in which this poem appears. A Niagara County native who is a member of the professional staff of the New York State Archives, she lives on 97 acres of reforested land near Lake Ontario dedicated to the protection of song and woodland birds and other kinds of wildlife. Ayn Sof is Hebrew for “infinite, boundless, unnamable, unending,” often with reference to God, apart from the created world.