Buddy System by Lynne Schmidt
When the snow gets deep
the rule is
if you chose to go into the trees
you stay within eyesight of your buddy.
And so we go,
eyesight like holding hands
existing in a wonderland together.
We careen around trees like car accidents
near misses and drunken nights.
For once I keep up.
Which is funny,
because the race ended three years ago.
The idea of the buddy system is that if you disappear
under a fresh drift
your buddy digs you out
on their hands and knees
while you wait for oxygen.
I have been waiting for him to give me permission to breathe
since we met
and he stole all the air in the universe.
I wait several moments to ensure he can get up.
He does, he brushes himself off.
He stands as tall as trees
and I am careful to not come closer
At the bottom of the mountain,
he calls her.
When she asks if he was alone
he looks at me
and says yes.
Lynne Schmidt is the winner of the 2020 New Women's Voices Contest and author of Dead Dog Poems, Gravity, and On Becoming a Role Model. When given the choice, Lynne prefers the company of her three dogs and one cat to humans. Twitter: @LynneSchmidt