The skaters

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The canal has frozen, and I’ve been handed a sharp pair of skates.

Look, everyone is racing by, propelled by the swift chock-chock-swish of their lusty strides.

The tree trunk that you’ve set me down on is rigid with cold.

I can’t put the skates on until I find the warm center of the tree, pirouette in the biggest storm it ever thrashed through, coat myself in the mud that froze around the scaly trunk when it fell, vanish into the watery center of its emptiness.

Look at them skate past. How did they learn all these things? What have they left me to discover?