Icicles

I told my wife I just needed some air,
Which is the line I always use to escape.
She knows how hard these past few months have been on me,
And how solitude calms my temper.

The cold New England winters will expose
A man’s character; be he a coward
Who opts for the bus when it’s icy,
Or a daredevil in his SUV and mukluks.

Come to think of it, winter’s trials,
And life’s trials for that matter,
Can teach us more than we’d ever like to know
About others, and worst of all ourselves.

I remember the day Ronnie died,
And the icicles that formed outside his window.
Each day that went by, another icicle fell,
Until one day, neither Ronnie nor the ice could hang on.

I can hear the snow and salt crunching
Under my boots, but I cannot feel it,
Nor can I feel the wind picking up;
There is no warmth left in me to chill.

I notice my neighbors’ homes, with icicles
On their roofs; a problem not uncommon around here.
But the lesson that icicles teach comes when
We try to pry them from their anchor point.

Icicles, like children, will hang on for dear life,
Trying their damndest just to be,
Until heat or illness or some other force
Loosens their grip, and they fall.

But when icicles tumble, as when children die,
There can be unforeseen consequences;
The roof of a building can be permanently damaged,
Just as a marriage can become permanently distant.

My life will be different now, I know,
But there is still hope for my family.
My only advice to you is
The next time you see an icicle,

Let it be.





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