Thin Ice

This is the velvet moment
when deep darkness lifts
across the river
along the ridge of the hills beyond.

Perched on the eastern tip
of Sycamore Island
hugging the shoreline,
a flush of mallards
breaks out of the tight huddle
that has kept them warm and alive
overnight in sub-freezing temperatures.

They’re ice skating. One-by-one,
like school children in single file formation,
each duck slowly waddles out on the fragile ice
that has formed around water’s edge.

Overhead, a cloud floats by, palest gray
flowing into ripe peach. One duck slips through the ice,
as if she forgot to look where she was going.

Nearby Canadian geese awake, leisurely float
around as if to greet them, and perhaps suggest
that new ice is thinnest and not to be trusted.


Rebecca Cole-Turner is ordained as a minister in the United Church of Christ. She serves as minister of spiritual formation at Smithfield UCC. Also a spiritual director, she is a Companion of Julian of Norwich (CJN). Her poetry has been published in Hungry Hearts and the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary Journal. She is a participant in the Madwomen in the Attic Writing Workshops at Carlow University.

“Thin Ice” appears in Volume XXII of Voices from the Attic anthology, edited by Jan Beatty, which includes work from the Madwomen in the Attic Writing Workshops in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

Published with permission of the author, Rebecca Cole-Turner.