Came out of the gate shivering,
sticking to the icy fall line,
over that fine line
between as fast as possible and out of control,
occasional snowflakes hitting my bare face like cold steel.

On a patch of ice near the top,
I blew the second turn.
Went flying off the edge of the mountain.
Nothing below or in front of me
but dark grey Vermont sky
and rows of lethal apple trees.
Plenty of time to think.
Dear God, I thought,
if I come out of this alive, I will give this up.

I hit the solid black trunk squarely.
Lay there for a minute or two in the cold snow.
With familiar stabbing pain in both my ankles,
I got up and walked away.

         forward         anywhere         lines