Poems & Essays

29 Jun

I Pushed Them Off

General/Column One Response

I pushed them off. I pushed them off.
What was I thinking?

They flew, those two, on a hard plastic sled with no runners.
The kind you can’t steer. 
Down a hill that loomed bigger as they catapulted towards smaller and smaller.

What was I thinking?
I helped their excitement climb onto the sled
with their clumsy snow boots and their puffy snow pants
made of vinyl – swish, swish – as their five-year-old bottoms sat down, 
one in front, one behind. 
I secured their warm hats with imperfect tight bows, 
squeezed their mittens aright, said goodbye and pushed them off,
hard, just like they asked.
What was I thinking?

Down the hill they careened, bobbing this way and that, 
gaining speed, hitting bumps, 
avoiding close crashes with sleds of lost kids, just like them, 
dashing by and out for a spin.  

Time moving fast clashed with time way too slow till they reached the bottom,  
tumbled off in a flip and flew separate ways, 
their limp bodies flopping head first in the snow. 
My horrified face gave me away as I raced down the hill, 
slipping and sliding all the way down
to find them, smiling, all white drippy giggles,
which injected my fears with the knowledge that 
pushing them off is my job.

Catherine Stratton is a writer and filmmaker living in Hoboken, New Jersey. Her work appeared in the Fall 2019 print issues of the Delmarva Review and the Tahoma Literary Review and will be published in Door is a Jar Literary Magazine and Woodhall Press’s Flash NonFiction Anthology in 2020.

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1 Comment

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  1. Kathy Giles

    June 29, 2020 at 4:01 pm

    You captured this mom-moment so well on so many levels. I felt exactly the same the first time each of my newly licensed kids pulled out of the driveway for their first “alone” errand in the car. All I remember is standing there asking myself, “What was I thinking?”!


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