This is the stutter of snow when it turns to sleet right before the freeze. You understand December. This is the skater on the lake slashing through the ice when the top crust has turned to slush, in the unseasonable melt, the blade of her skate making the water bleed in blue eruptions, looping and twisting as the ice cracks around her. She blades free, alone on the pond over the bumpy ice, the ice that froze during the slap of snow. So we are safe. Before it’s too late. Before life freezes into the claw of terror and even those undergoing torpor or hibernation die. She is brown, she is black, she is LGBTQQAI2+, she is a refugee, she is an illegal alien, she skates with one leg. She skates behind the white cruelties of the rising storm. The weather doesn’t stop her; doesn’t send her fleeing to furnace, hot chocolate and her daughter’s moist warm breath. She is fierce and cold and sharp. She feels. She has escaped unspeakable torments. She is not even close to stopping, but skates over avarice and greed, the knives on her feet cutting them to shreds. She’s only half visible, but she rips up erasure. She’s spectral in plumes of blue. She’s fast. She gathers heat. Ice melts beneath her. At the edge of the lake, a sudden light. A dozen lights, flickering. Ten dozen lights, like ropes of lights. Five hundred lights, a rally. Ten thousand lights to say resist. One million lights. People skate toward her, faces raised, blade edges glinting, singing the force of equality. They are hope, they are insistence, they are roar, pure, blue and melodic. Stronger together, she says, raising her arms. Stronger together, they sing back.
Jane Eaton Hamilton is the author of 9 books of cnf, fiction and poetry, including the 2016 novel WEEKEND. She is the two-time winner of Canada's CBC Literary Award for fiction (2003/2014). She’s had a notable in BASS and BAE (2016) and has appeared in The Journey Prize, Best Canadian Short Stories and Best Canadian Poetry. Her work has also appeared in publications such as Salon, The Rumpus, The Missouri Review and was published recently at the NY Times. Jane edits for Many Gendered Mothers and is a frequent jury member for literature awards. She is working on her second novel SNOW. She lives in Vancouver.