By Mark Belair

in the new england winters of my boyhood / ponds froze in the fall / and their surfaces stayed hockey-hard / until the january thaw

then their edges softened for a week and reformed / a foreshadowing we soon forgot / in the clash of pucks and sticks

but come spring / damp ice would drench our dungarees when we fell / then one day it was suddenly done / the season over / the pond edges mush

and we’d stand there / not resentful / for it was always a good / long season / nor eager / as swimming in the pond seemed eons away

no / we’d just hold blank stares / as we shifted our weight / and hefted our sticks / our wool sweaters a little warm / the pond safe to walk on / but no good for our sport

each of us / side by side / silently mesmerized / by this still / watery / moment


Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, The Cincinnati Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry East and The South Carolina Review. His latest collection is Watching Ourselves (Unsolicited Press, 2017). Previous collections include Breathing Room (Aldrich Press, 2015); Night Watch (Finishing Line Press, 2013); While We’re Waiting (Aldrich Press, 2013); and Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012). He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize multiple times. Please visit

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