Back home, it was a term we used to describe

a truck sliding out on ice,

when the back wheels lose traction and the box swerves

back and forth, back and forth,

like a fish flapping its tail before it dies.

I took a ride in a horse-drawn carriage with you for the first time,

the softly falling snow clung to my black tights,

and the bells jingled in time with the pulsing of my frozen fingers,

as cars took wide turns to avoid us on this snowy night,

the slippery pavement made the wagon wheels slide,

back and forth, back and forth,

while I clung to sides.

later, when you came and found me in my room,

naked body strewn in a heap of clothes,

eyes still soggy from my home-sick cries,

you asked me if everything was alright.

I wanted to tell you then, everything,

but I was fishing for words without a hook,

so I stood dumb while you gave me your worried look,

rocking from your heels to your toes

back and forth, back and forth,

and outside it ceased to snow.


My emotions careening too quickly down streets of black ice,

over the thought that you would ever glance at me twice,

I couldn't explain that I was only coasting,

out of gas, praying I could hold on long enough

until the winter passed.

That even if you would drop and profess your love on bended knee,

it would not persuade me,

because I'm already out of control, moods swinging

back and forth, back and forth,

like a truck crashing on the road.

The End

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