Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Skating With the Blind Boy

Skating With the Blind Boy

His fingers search the ice, grazing like a camel’s lips on thorns.
Kazakhstan to Bryant Park- who could foretell it?

(His mother will be Skyped tonight and scream with joy!)
My student wants not only English, he wants

the hard, cold crunch of actual New York, he wants it all.
He wants more, more, more. I wobble, trembling,

at the wall. This isn’t what I signed up for.
I’m unskilled. I’ve failed. I give myself a zero as my grade.

What’s this?
His hand moves from messy ice up to my rental skate,
my clumsily bound foot, that I so fiercely hate.

He pushes up the toe and runs bare fingers cautiously along the blade.
Hypnotized, I cannot move. Now his hand explores the ugly plastic boot,
pats my shoelace, strokes the toe. When should I say No?

Then, satisfied, he stands upright- nineteen, a healthy, pink-cheeked boy.

“Today, I am so enjoy,” he says. “Thank you. I am so enjoy.”

The sighted skaters blur and circle us again. Infinity is this.

Barbara Riddle
December 25, 2011

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