In honor of National Poetry Month, & also in honor of breakup (which is Alaskan for the time of year we’re now in, when the ice & snow melts & everyone’s car is splashed with mud) — here’s a poem I wrote back in 1997, based on a little tragedy I experienced when I was a child growing up in Columbia Falls, Montana.
Ballad of the Splash
by Melissa S. Green
‘Twas one day after school let out
the child was walking home,
on her feet red rubber overboots
to keep her dry and warm.
The mountains’ southern slopes were bare,
the northern slopes were white,
the street one-third of pavement grey,
one-third not melted quite,
and one-third, lo! a thousand lakes!
and puddles, rivulets, streams,
to watch, or dam, or stomp and splash
though it might damp her shins.
Into a flow she moved pebbles
and rearranged small sticks
so to watch with all a child’s delight
some fluid dynamics.
And then she held her foot just so
above the reservoir
and stamped it down to swamp the dam
and cause a muddy shower.
Thusly moved she down the street,
through this puddle and that,
till she came upon the greatest lake
outside the laundromat.
And as she set foot in the pool
her overboots so red
did slip; she went horizontal
as though she’d gone to bed.
Overbrimmed her overboots,
overbrimmed her coat —
she felt no longer dry but wet
as an overhumidified boat.
She hopped up tearful and soggy and cold
and ran home in a thrice
and was careful evermore not to wade
in puddles bottomed with ice.