There I was, where I hadn't
planned to be: in a new snow
up to my calves, walking north
toward her house. Many times
I veered to the west or the east,
but some internal compass kept
correcting my direction.
It was very cold, yet the sky
was mostly clear, with a few
streaks of clouds. Sparrows were
chittering in the windbreaks.
It wasn't until I got to the cattails
at the edge of the lake that I
could see her house, about a mile
away on the opposite bank.
I hesitated, not being sure
if the ice would hold.
I remembered as a boy sliding on
bare spots of snow-covered lakes,
swept by the broom of the wind,
but this time there was only snow.
I imagined the big Northern pike
looming under my boots,
and thought of the one I caught
through the ice a decade ago--
with a hook embedded near its
glassy eye, and about a foot of
snapped line above a leader.
Naturally, the one that got away
and got caught again was
still in my head by the time I
reached out with my mittened
fist to knock on her door,
and then heard her lovely,
perilous voice reeling me in.