who huddle around watching their young ones
take to the ice like the wobbly creatures they are
at outdoor school rinks now lent to these
bundled-up fathers who shift from side to side
and huddle together to stay warm like
looming Emperor Penguins,
while dutifully standing vigil for their
offspring who careen wildly but then
glide like pros for up-to-seconds-at-a-time before
spiraling into impromptu, shaky pirouettes
that cause the men to gasp from the sidelines,
then fake-skate with their shoes
over to the crash site where they whisper
their concern and, upon further triage,
encourage their fallen angels to right their little
skates on the ice, to again take on the
wintry reality of the late afternoon,
with their chins held high to the glory of
the Penguin-Men in attendance.
This poem first appeared in New Purlieu Review.
Used here with the author’s permission.