To Mary Jo Salter
Beyond the ice-bound stones and bucking trees,
past bewildered Mary, the Meer in snow,
two skating rinks and two black crooked paths
are a battered pair of reading glasses
scratched by the skater's multiplying math.
Beset, I play this game of tic-tac-toe.
Divide, subtract. Who can tell if love surpasses?
Two naughts we've learned make one astonished 0--
a hectic night of goats and compasses.
Folly tells the truth by what it's not--
one X equals a fall I'd not forgo.
Are ice and fire the integers we've got?
Skating backwards tells another story--
the risky star above the freezing town,
a way to walk on water and not drown.