Delivering Papers

Winter in my childhood
was two solid months covered by snow—
late weekday evenings and early Sunday mornings,
long, empty sidewalks and quiet alleys;
my active young mind wandered aimlessly through fantasies
as my cold feet carried me purposefully along the daily route.

I stuffed the bottoms of my pant legs into the tops
of cheap plastic boots that sank well below
the bright surfaces of the snow.

Sometimes the flakes stopped falling
but held firm to the ground
while icy winds battered the upper layers
until they became a solid sheet.

If I stepped softly, slowly
I could walk across without breaking through.

Or, I could stomp a perfect foot-sized
hole, and use a stick to write my name by it.

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