We learned to walk on ice.
To see it when it seemed not there.
To put one foot carefully down, heel first,
holding our ground,
stepping deliberately.
Not fearless, like the young ones rushing past us.
Humbled by wisdom.
One misstep could bring us down.
Broken bones.
Cracked skull.
What do they know of what lies ahead?

Careful but undaunted,
we got there,
where we were headed.
Catching one another at the slips,
though we could both crash without warning
into a broken heap.

We learned to walk on ice,
in all of its terrifying manifestations.
We pulled our scarves close, to warm our breath,
before it could freeze lungs unaccustomed to its frigid sting.
And when the path was too narrow
to walk side by side.
we walked single-file,
close enough to be shadows.
I grabbed your coat as my boots began to sail.
You stepped gingerly.
We got where we were going,
in one piece.
We learned to walk on ice,