POEM: ice skating on jarvis field

BY ROGER PAO

Over February, the man and the woman strodetoward iron railings that guarded a cool genre of paradise. The law school pairroosted on concrete, their legs spread out before them on trapezoidal

benches, in preparation for flight, the woman smoothing her index finger over silver blades, the man undulating the verticalripples in his forearms when tightening laces. Such ice is their world

to claim in brinksmanship. The woman and the man wobbled away from the storied undertow of brick and mortar, as though unglued to the gray gravity that held their secrets

intact through nights of insecurity. The man and the woman slept together, in the almost-private torsos of one another,while seamless clouds cruised overhead through an indigo-black ocean. They told

each other that they would go skating tomorrow,but they meant to say they knew as much about federal courtsas the fate of a new Iraq,as much about orphaned babies in Indonesia

as whether they should rise for breakfast or haunt themselves later with questions of love by having sex during sunrise. They sighed. The man steppedon the rink first, extending his well-gloved hand

to the woman in a gesture of civil procedure. It felt appropriate, like good architecture, like public libraries. It felt like law, maybe love, not rapture, as their legs powered their bodies over ice.

by roger pao

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