She slips on her skates
as the whir of a hummingbird
crosses the porch.
She’s seeking smooth slabs
of pavement in the empty spaces
by the park
and she can hardly wait
for me to find my shoes.

I remember that longing,
to just skate for hours and hours.

I hold a small hand
that isn’t gripping me for balance
this time.
I could let go
and she would just keep rolling,
without falling.
I could let go,
but I don’t.

We both scoff at the tragedy
of a quiet, deserted park
on a night like this,
still warm at seven
two weeks before May.

She rolls across the whole lot,
curving to avoid
the streams
of pine needles and cones.
She chats about school
while she tries quick turns
on the gradual hills.

The rest of the day
rolls away.

Then I get a flash
of the evening battles
at seven months,
so long ago,
and if I had just a glimpse
of seven years ahead,
to this skating stroll,
I could have handled
those evenings
with a little more grace.

She lands one more perfect rollout
on the practice hill
and then says we can
head back,
with a subtle, reluctant swerve.
She reflects on her technique
as we turn onto our street.

When we get back to the house,
she says she could tell
I was ready to come home,
but she could have skated
for hours and hours.

~ Megan M. Codera


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