thin ice season
by Kathy Fisher

a duck flew over open water yesterday a huge raven circled the North Road field crows go south in winter but ravens stay the big black bird lands plants its shadow solid between mound round drifts buried rows of sheared corn stubble scores a black hole into powder white snow

i knew the lake would freeze last night the bay was a black grin steaming its final heat into the night sky

you could hear the water heave seize and split in otherworldly exclamations

don't go out without a long stick my father warns wear a hook fastened to your wrist like Vermont fishermen that way you can pull yourself out

my dog runs out onto the freshly frozen water of Sargent's Bay i yell after him to come back to shore he ignores me hot on the scent of a wild animal

the ice holds him barely holds my heart clutched in its mitt of winter fear if he falls through he won't last long my father slurs cold comfort

it is a thin ice season we tread carefully at the lake's edge unsure of our footing a sliver of solid cold between us a numb death

my father confused from his stroke loses days finds himself here on the windblown grey slate shoreline

he calls after my dog strikes out over water tapping his hook end stick each step a black hole on the lightly dusted hard skinned lake

Kathy Fisher is a Montrealer by birth and education. Her first poem, published while a student, was reprinted in A Noble Roster: One Hundred and Fifty Years of Law at McGill. She is itinerant by nature—a water seeker—and divides her time among Lake Memphremagog, Lake Champlain, the North Saskatchewan and the Seine. She practices poetry out loud. Her collaboration with Edmonton's Raving Poets Band in 2001 sparked the production of her first CD, think of me naked. Her poems have appeared in various print and CD collections, and on ZeD TV. In 2007, she is slated to be part of CBC's Poetry Face-off.