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I Want to Ice Skate With You: A Poem About Love

Chill Clinton is a professional writer with an interest in a variety of forms.

When Things Come to an End

When I was studying writing as an undergraduate, I was assigned the task of writing a love poem. At the time, this felt like a strange topic for people so young.

What did we know about love? For many in their college years, relationships are often testing grounds for understanding what we want out of a partner, or who we are in the context of a relationship.

Perhaps I didn't know about the sort of love that two people might share before agreeing to marry, but I could relate to the feeling of being in a relationship with someone who you feel is outgrowing you.

It feels somewhat natural- believing yourself to not be good enough for someone else, or not being what they want. And I, being so young, managed this feeling by becoming, more and more, the careless partner I believed myself to be.

In this poem, I explore the end of a relationship. It's not the sort of conclusion marked by an explosion of raw emotion, or any particular wrongdoing. Instead, it tries to make sense of the feeling that a partner is moving on, and the way one might handle these emotions through acceptance rather than resistance.

I Want to Ice Skate with You

We are going to NYC next month.
It’s December, and all I want to do
is to do the most touristy thing
there is to do in NYC with you.

I want to ice skate.

But I know you, and you won’t want to do it
without first knowing you won’t fall down.
And so I will promise to hold your hand.

I’ll even pay our $40. Wait in line
while you visit the M&M store.
I’ll call you when it’s our turn,
and lace your rental skates.

When you step out onto the ice,
I’ll hold my arm out for you,
but you’ll eventually slip and fall backwards,
and to save myself from taking the slam too,
I’ll let you go and play it off,
because we can still make this good.

So I’ll offer my hand to help you up,
but when you reach for me,
I’ll whip my fingers through my hair,
like a schoolyard bully
in an after school special.

You will be mad either way,
so why not have a little fun
while you’re down there?

I’ll chock it up to tough love,
because what other kind is there?

Very little of anything is soft,
which you will know when your butt hits the ice,
and you look up at me as I feign innocence,
like I trusted you not to fall
when I knew all along that you might fall.
And what’s worse, I’ve planned for it.

I want to ice skate with you
so you can see me more easily.

I want to ice skate with you
until you fall so many times,
I lose you somewhere
among all the tourists,
all the lights.

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