It was that winter twenty years ago
when we walked that night
by the river trail near the stone bridge
and the sedan stopped mid span.
The car door opened and a burly man
threw a burlap sack over the rail
to splash in the semi-frozen water
and the current swept it up.
You heard the canine whines
and splashed through the thin ice,
then gingerly walked on the thick
until you reached the sack.
As you pulled it out of the water
the ice broke. You fell through
to be swept under.
Your free arm caught the edge.
I bulldozed my way through the sheet
never trying to maintain its surface
and struggled chest deep to you
in less than ten seconds.
My iron grip secured your arm
and I pulled you up
to the loud gasps of your breath.
And you lifted the dripping sack above the water.
Back on shore we dripped and wheezed
and opened the sack to reveal six puppies.
We speed walked them home
to the warmth of dry blankets, a fire in the hearth.
copyright © 2020 Kenneth P. Gurney