Not on a lake near a pavilion, its summer awning
tucked away, snow-dusted tables and curve-backed
wicker chairs stalwart, braving the elements.
Not on a lake laid out like an icy carpet stretched
into forever, no opposite side in sight.

No fellow skaters in colorful jackets, woolen
scarves streaming behind them, shiny blades
gleaming amidst the ice they sprayed.
No smartly dressed spectators stood at the rail,
marveled at his speed, his spins, his figure-eights.

In Detroit winters, this skinny kid who grew up engulfed
by city traffic teeming with Fords, Chevys, Pontiacs
and the musty odor of beer boiling at the Stroh’s Brewery
learned to skate

on a man-made rink that materialized each November
on the summer’s softball field at Bradley Rec Center.
Dirt trucked in then shaped and bermed by city bulldozers
formed the huge rectangle, soon flooded and frozen over.

His seasonal wonderland afforded no less fun,
yielded no less jarring when he fell, and no less
triumph when he mastered skates and skills—
My brother tightened the laces on his second-hand
skates and took flight to only-he-knew-where.